Players on the fringe of Australia's Test squad will get a final chance to impress national selectors when the third round of the JLT Sheffield Shield gets underway on Monday.
The No.6 and No.7 spots in Australia's side for the first Magellan Ashes Test are still far from locked in and strong performances early this week could prove all the difference when selectors gather to name their squad for the opening Test in Brisbane.
Take a look at who’s in, who’s out and what’s on the line for the Shield combatants this week.
CRICKET NETWORK WILL LIVE STREAM EVERY MATCH OF THE JLT SHEFFIELD SHIELD ON cricket.com.au AND THE CA LIVE APP
Victoria v Tasmania at the MCG
There will be plenty of interest in Melbourne as Test incumbents Glenn Maxwell and Matthew Wade make a final push to hold onto their spots in the middle order.
Under-pressure Tasmania wicketkeeper-batsman Wade will play his first game against his former state and is in desperate need of a big score and a tidy performance behind the stumps in order to hold off the Test push of NSW gloveman Peter Nevill.
Fresh from twin half-centuries last week, Maxwell will be hoping to continue his good form to repel the likes of WA's Hilton Cartwright and secure the No.6 spot and a shot at his first Test on home soil.
Tasmania will be without paceman Jackson Bird, who will instead take part in a mini training camp with Australia's other Test quicks in Brisbane, but the winless Tigers do welcome back allrounder James Faulkner from injury.
Victoria: Peter Handscomb (c), Fawad Ahmed, Scott Boland, Dan Christian, Travis Dean, Aaron Finch, Seb Gotch, Sam Harper, Marcus Harris, Glenn Maxwell, Peter Siddle, Chris Tremain.
Tasmania: George Bailey (c), Gabe Bell, Alex Doolan, Jake Doran, James Faulkner, Ben McDermott, Riley Meredith, Tim Paine, Sam Rainbird, Tom Rogers, Jordan Silk, Matthew Wade, Beau Webster.
Queensland v New South Wales at Allan Border Field
A star-studded NSW side will be without Test quicks Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins for this clash, who have been withdrawn ahead of the first Test at The Gabba. But they will be watching their Blues teammates up close; with the match to be played at Allan Border Field, the pacemen will train together in the nearby nets at the Bupa National Cricket Centre in order to tune up to face the English.
The Blues have called on Doug Bollinger, Sean Abbott and Harry Conway to replace their star pace trio, while former Test quick Trent Copeland will likely come back into the XI after his strong showing with the pink ball in Round 1.
Another Blues Test trio of Steve Smith, David Warner and Nathan Lyon will also enjoy some more time in the middle ahead of the Ashes, while Nic Maddinson, Daniel Hughes and Kurtis Patterson are all outside chances for the vacant No.6 spot.
But most interest will surround Nevill, who could secure his return to the Baggy Green with a solid showing with bat and gloves.
For the Bulls, skipper Usman Khawaja will be looking to continue his good form going into the Test series while opener Matthew Renshaw will be hoping to find touch ahead of his first Ashes campaign.
Queensland: Usman Khawaja (c), Joe Burns, Brendan Doggett, Luke Feldman, Marnus Labuschagne, Michael Neser, James Peirson, Matthew Renshaw, Mark Steketee, Mitch Swepson, Sam Truloff, Jack Wildermuth.
NSW: Steve Smith (c), Sean Abbott, Doug Bollinger, Harry Conway, Trent Copeland, Moises Henriques, Daniel Hughes, Nathan Lyon, Nic Maddinson, Peter Nevill, Kurtis Patterson, David Warner.
Western Australia v South Australia at the WACA Ground
There will be plenty of interest in the west as No.6 candidates Cartwright, Shaun Marsh, Travis Head and Jake Lehmann chase a big score that could vault them into the Test squad.
Cartwright's Test push copped a blow last week when he registered a pair against NSW while Marsh, Head and especially Lehmann were all in the runs in Round 2 and could secure a spot with another big score this week.
WA allrounder Marcus Stoinis has returned after missing last week's match for personal reasons, while in-form opener Cameron Bancroft will again take the keeping gloves in the absence of injured wicketkeeper Josh Inglis.
Western Australia: Mitch Marsh (c), Ashton Turner (vc), Cameron Bancroft, Jason Behrendorff, Will Bosisto, Hilton Cartwright, Andrew Holder, Simon Mackin, Shaun Marsh, David Moody, Jhye Richardson, Marcus Stoinis, Andrew Tye, Jonathan Wells.
South Australia: Travis Head (c), Callum Ferguson, Alex Carey, Tom Cooper, John Dalton, Jake Lehmann, Joe Mennie, Kane Richardson, Chadd Sayers, Jake Weatherald, Daniel Worrall, Adam Zampa.