It took just three minutes in the middle for Jake Fraser-McGurk to show the world exactly how he intends to play for Australia.
His whirlwind knock was filled with rocks and diamonds, going out fifth ball after opening the batting and facing the first ball in his ODI debut, but his teammates are backing the boom youngster to maintain the aggressive approach that won him his spot in the ODI side.
The 21-year-old has dominated domestic cricket this season with some knocks that belong in video games with cheat codes on, and that lack of fear was on full display at the SCG against the West Indies.
He waltzed out to the crease and tried to whack his first ball for six – which he did fourth ball after hitting the third to the boundary for four – but was back in the pavilion moments later when he edged one through to the keeper.
His 10 off five wasn’t quite as memorable as David Warner’s 89 against South Africa 15 years ago, but he showed the positive intent that selectors want to see from a young man who could open the batting for the next decade.
“We knew he was going to do it, to be fair,” Sean Abbott said after the 83-run win in Sydney.
“I’m not going to quote what he said, but we knew he was going to go out and take it on.
“We’ve seen Travis (Head) build a game around that, Mitch Marsh has done that – not as aggressive as that – but they all take the positive option, and that’s the way we’ve played for a long time now.
“We’ve made sure that we’ve looked to be positive in the power play and put the pressure back on their bowlers regardless of the conditions.
“That’s going to complement the other batters around him in the power play should he continue to get opportunities, which I’m sure he will.”
Fraser-McGurk and fellow debutant Will Sutherland (18 runs and two wickets) both had their moments, but it was Abbott who helped the hosts wrap up the series 2-0 thanks to what he described as his best game in the green and gold jersey.
The veteran knows the SCG like the back of his hand, and he used that experience to help the Aussies recover from 6-142, with his career-best 69 off 63 helping them post what turned out to be a winning score, before claiming 3-40 with the ball as well as taking two catches.
Abbott has already put his hand up to play in the third game in Canberra on Tuesday, with the all-rounder fully aware how easily he can lose his spot if someone comes in and does well.
While Matt Short is in doubt with a hamstring strain and Josh Hazlewood will be rested, Abbott is keen to play in a bid to impress selectors ahead of the T20 World Cup that starts in June.
“I don’t want to skip any games,” he said.
“It’s obviously a tight turnaround, but that’s part of playing cricket for your country at the moment.
“We look after ourselves … but I don’t want to give up a game because it’s a hard team to get into.”
That made his performance at the SCG all the more special, and important, as Abbott hits the peak of his cricketing powers.
“There are a few guys out tonight resting like Patty (Pat Cummins) and Starcy (Mitchell Starc). It’s a hard team to get into and it’s even harder to stay in,” he said.
“I’m chuffed with the runs, but I feel like my job is to go out there and take wickets and do the job with the ball.
“It’s a game I’ll remember for a long time, but I’m chuffed to go out and get the job done with the pill.
“I think (that was my best game for Australia).
“It was a nice night with a couple of catches as well.”