Shaun Tait stormed into first Test calculations with a withering fast bowling performance as England succumbed to a 166-run defeat in their opening Australian Ashes tour match yesterday.
The tourists' bowlers were hammered for a record 347 for five by a Prime Minister's XI off 50 overs and in reply England were skittled for just 181 off 38.4 overs.
It was a worrying performance with the first of the five Ashes Tests, in Brisbane, just 13 days away.
Tait, little used in his two Tests in last year's Ashes series, threw down his challenge for the third fast-bowling slot behind Glenn McGrath and Brett Lee at the Gabba with explosive figures of 3-21 from eight overs.
The South Australian slinger worked up a full head of steam and claimed the prized wicket of England skipper Andrew Flintoff for one off three balls, while big-hitting Kevin Pietersen fell for seven.
The day began poorly for England, with opener Phil Jaques leading the charge with 112 off 110 balls after the PM's XI was sent into bat by Flintoff.
It was the highest score by a PM's XI team against a touring side in the national capital, surpassing the 334 for 5 against India in 1999.
Only vice-captain and Middlesex opener Andrew Strauss looked the part with some sweetly timed shots before he went for 67.
Opener Marcus Trescothick faced just three balls before he edged Tait to second slip for two and Alastair Cook mistimed a pull shot to top-edge Ben Hilfenhaus to wicketkeeper Tim Paine for four.
Paul Collingwood looked set before he found Jaques at deep mid-wicket off leg-spinner Cameron White for 35, putting on 58 for the third wicket with Strauss.
Strauss reached his half-century off 50 balls, showing exquisite timing but was annoyed with himself when he tried to hook Tait, only to offer a simple catch to Hilfenhaus at mid-on.
1st test: Brisbane, Nov. 23-27.
2nd test: Adelaide, Dec. 1-5.
3rd test: Perth, Dec. 14-18.
4th test: Melbourne, Dec. 26-30.
5th test: Sydney, Jan. 2-6.
* Overall records (since 1876-77)
In Australia: 160 tests: Wins -- Australia 80, England 54. Draws: 26.
In England: 151 tests: Wins -- Australia 46, England 43. Draws: 62.
Overall: 311 tests: Wins -- Australia 126, England, 97. Draws: 88.
His runs came off as many balls and his innings included 12 fours to all parts of the ground.
Pietersen perished to an ill-judged hook shot, top-edging Hilfenhaus to Paine for seven before Tait bowled Flintoff two balls later.
Flintoff was beaten by Tait's sheer pace to have his stumps spreadeagled and next ball Ashley Giles survived a huge shout for lbw with Tait down on his knees beseeching the umpire.
Giles was run out by White for 13, Sajid Mahmood was stumped down the leg-side off White for 22, Anderson was lbw to local player Adam Ritchard for a duck and Monty Panesar was last man out for one with wicketkeeper Geraint Jones not out 13.
Earlier, Test opener-in-waiting Phil Jaques gave Australian selectors more food for thought with an impressive century.
Jaques, who has the obstacle of long-time incumbents Justin Langer and Matthew Hayden blocking his way into the Australian Test team, hit nine boundaries and two sixes in his breezy knock off 110 balls.
He gave only one chance, on 21, when he was put down by wicketkeeper Geraint Jones off James Anderson, before he holed out in the deep to Cook off medium-pacer Collingwood in the 37th over.
The runs flowed late in the innings, with 112 runs coming off the last 10 overs.
Shaun Marsh hit an unbeaten 78 off 56 balls, Travis Birt smacked 40 off 45 balls and Adam Voges chipped in with 39 off 32 balls.
The PM's XI batsmen smashed a total of eight sixes in the innings, with skipper Cameron White helping himself to three of them in an unbeaten 30 off 14 balls.