By Graham Croker
Sydney University opener Greg Mail made the most of a last-minute call-up to NSW ranks when he carved out innings of 43 and 125 in the drawn match against Victoria at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
With Phil Jaques (illness) and Sydney University team-mate Ed Cowan (ankle) unavailable, Mail reminded selectors that he still has the talent and desire to add to his 62-match first-class career by putting NSW in a strong position to push for outright points.
Mail, a science student and former Vice-Chancellor’s Sports Scholarship holder at Sydney University, registered his first Pura Cup century since 2005-06 to give the Blues a healthy lead of 320 on the final day of play.
In a match of declarations, NSW scored 9(dec)-253 and 7(dec)-323, while Victoria posted 8(dec)-256 and were 2-117 when rained halted play on the fourth day.
Although Mail had a bumper 2006-07 season in the Sydney grade competition, where he scored 1225 to break an 87-year old club record, he disappointed at State level and was not considered for selection until Cowan’s late withdrawal against Victoria.
After contributing the second top score in NSW’s first innings, the right-hander built a circumspect 125 from 276 balls in the second innings, hitting eight fours in almost six hours at the crease. He also took 1-12 with his medium-pacers. Having made his first-class debut in the 1999-00 season, the 29-year-old Mail always battled to become a permanent fixture at the top of the NSW innings. That might be about to change.