Brad Haddin is making sure the heat will stay on Matthew Wade after another sparkling half-century helped NSW to first innings points on day two of their Shield clash with Queensland at Manuka Oval.
Left out of the current three-Test series against South Africa in favour of the 24-year-old Wade, Haddin has said he feels in career-best form right now, and he has the numbers to prove it.
On Wednesday he added an impressive 73, with ten boundaries, to the back-to-back centuries scored in his previous two first class outings - an unbeaten 108 against Victoria last week and 114 against Tasmania in September.
Haddin put on 115 runs for the fifth wicket with a resurgent Steve Smith before finding Cameron Gammon at deep mid wicket while trying to put Nathan Hauritz (2-71) into the crowd.
In contrast, Wade is having a difficult series against the Proteas with scores of 19, 6 and 18 combined with mixed performances behind the stumps.
Smith, who at 23 is playing better than he did when he earned his fifth and most recent Test cap in January 2011, was the other star of the day as the Blues finished on 6-291 with a 48-run first innings lead.
He went to stumps on 90 not out, with a sixth first class century within his grasp but even he marvelled at Haddin's aggression and current form.
"He's batting brilliantly at the moment. He's obviously got lots of hunger," Smith said.
"He wants to get back into that Aussie team and at the moment he's doing everything right."
Smith also did everything right against Queensland, playing a patient knock while avoiding a barrage of short-pitching deliveries from pace pair Luke Feldman (2-58) and Ben Cutting (1-76), and also hitting the runs which took NSW into the lead.
He is on pace to score his first century since November 7 of last year, but the allrounder wants to drive the point home on Thursday and set last-placed NSW up for an outright victory which could put their season back on track.
"Hopefully I can get a few more than ten runs tomorrow," Smith, who will resume his innings with captain Stephen O'Keefe (17) on Thursday, said.
Peter Nevill (55) laid the Blues' platform earlier in the day, combining with David Dawson (32) for a 74-run partnership.
NSW are in last place on the Shield ladder, with Queensland in equal first, but the ladder leaders have been outplayed through the first two days.
On a fairly mild deck the Bulls were rolled for 243, with forgotten Test quick Doug Bollinger doing the bulk of the damage with 4-57, while debutant leg-spinner Adam Zampa claimed 2-30.
Nathan Reardon (71) top scored for the Bulls with captain Chris Hartley (66) also contributing.