Alex Doolan put his heart and soul into making himself more nimble on his feet in order to counter Pakistan’s spinners in the United Arab Emirates.
The hard work has paid off so far for the Tasmanian right-hander who top-scored with 104 retired in Australia’s first innings of 8-273 on Thursday on day two of their four-day game against Pakistan A in Sharjah.
“It’s probably something I have to concentrate a bit more on,” said Doolan, who hit 12 fours and three sixes off 194 balls.
“Growing up in Australia, playing fast bowling was a bit more comfortable to me than actually playing spin bowling.
“Coming over to the UAE to play against Pakistan, we assumed we were going to come up against some fierce spin.
“It is something that I’ve focused on in the last four months.”
The 28-year-old averaged 31 in his debut Test series in South Africa in March.
Doolan’s likely to bat at No.3 against Pakistan in the first Test starting on October 22 in Dubai.
There’s still plenty to learn and he says the best seat in the house is at the non-striker’s end when Australia’s middle-order batsman Steve Smith is at the crease.
Smith hit nine boundaries in his 58 retired and shared a 106-run stand for the fourth wicket with Doolan.
The energetic Smith scored 190 runs in three matches in last week’s one-day series against Pakistan, winning the player-of-the-series award.
Smith has also scored three centuries in eight Tests in the past 12 months.
“I can’t play it quite like Steve can. He’s an exceptional player and looked to be batting on a different wicket today,” Doolan said.
“He’s batting beautifully and has done now for probably the last 18 months.
“So it’s really pleasing to be able to watch someone like Steve Smith play the way he does.”
Doolan said scoring became easier after lunch when the when the ball became older.
His dashing footwork was on display when he hit a straight six on 98 to bring up his hundred against spinner Raza Hasan.
“I was certainly waiting for him to throw one up and thankfully he did,” Doolan said.