BRISBANE - The man anointed by Ricky Ponting as his heir apparent - Alex Doolan - kept Tasmania's hopes of a vital Sheffield Shield outright victory alive with a timely half century against Queensland at the Gabba yesterday.
And just as well.
Ponting suffered a rare failure as part-time bowler Nathan Reardon ripped through the Tigers' middle order with two wickets in three balls to send a scare through the visitors' camp.
However, Doolan (71 not out) stood tall to guide Tasmania to 4-226 in its second dig at stumps on day three - with an overall lead of 190 with a day to play.
Ponting had tipped Doolan as the man to replace him in the Test line-up of the upcoming Ashes series.
Doolan almost forced his way into the Test squad in November with a fighting 161 for Australia A against South Africa.
And his Test debut may be sooner rather than later based on Australia's underwhelming tour of India.
But the Tigers were relishing Doolan still being in their line-up after he came to their rescue late yesterday.
Ponting had arrived at the Gabba for Tasmania's must-win Shield clash averaging more than 111 with the bat.
However, he will leave with a mere mortal 85.62 after being bowled for a two-ball duck during Reardon's stunning burst.
Reardon broke a 64-run second wicket stand when he had opener Mark Cosgrove (63) caught behind before rattling Ponting's stumps two balls later and reducing the Tigers to 3-138, holding a lead of 102.
Fifth-placed Tasmania needs to win its last two games outright to remain in the Shield final mix.
Rain delayed the start of yesterday's play by half an hour.