A clear mind and desire to have fun propelled Hayden Kerr's stunning debut Sheffield Shield innings yesterday at the SCG.
After the loss of three quick wickets, NSW was teetering at 6-148 on day one when Kerr strode to the crease, but the 25-year-old said he was not overthinking the gargantuan task which lay before him.
"Not a lot [was going through my head], I just wanted to enjoy myself and obviously contribute to the team," Kerr told cricket.com.au after the day's play.
"It was a pretty special experience to play against some experienced players, like James Pattinson and the like.
"I just really enjoyed it, and it was an opportunity for me to grow and to learn, so I was just happy to be a part of today."
22 overs after his arrival, Kerr had faced 75 balls for 62 runs, which included nine fours and a huge six over backward square leg off beleaguered legspinner, Wil Parker.
Kerr was greeted by a quick yorker from Pattinson, and proceeded to battle for his first run as the ball was swinging sharply.
After 13 deliveries, he got off the mark in Shield cricket, and almost immediately looked more at ease at the crease.
Dan Hughes, who had carried the NSW innings prior to Kerr's arrival, was dismissed for 70 after the pair had added more than 40 runs together. At this point, the onus was put on the debutant to see his state through to a defensible score in difficult conditions.
This he did, as the Blues reached 233 all out.
"I'm very happy, it's as much as I could've asked for I suppose, considering the circumstances we were in," Kerr said.
"I was focused on doing the job for the team at that time, and I think I did that."
By the close of play, Victoria was 3-68 in response and struggling to come to grips with the bowling of Chris Tremain, who had snared all of the wickets to fall in a furious opening spell.
Having come on at first change, Kerr bowled three overs before the end of the day and only conceded seven runs.
As it stands, Kerr acknowledged that the match was "in the balance".
With Travis Dean and Jonathan Merlo both unbeaten in the 30s, and the likes of Sam Harper and James Pattinson to come, Victoria could yet post a competitive total.
"Maybe we're slightly on top given that we got a few of their top order out," Kerr said.
"So who knows, maybe tomorrow if we can get a few more early wickets, that might swing the game in our favour a little bit more."
At the time of writing, there has been no play at the SCG today due to the constant rainfall. However, with the forecast slightly more positive tomorrow, NSW will have overcast conditions in their favour with ball in hand.
While you're with us...
Did you know Southern Highland News is now offering breaking news alerts and a weekly email newsletter? Keep up-to-date with all the local news: sign up here.