Fresh from a second century in the Sydney top grade this season, Newcastle cricketer Jason Sangha enters his first Ashes fray with a four-day tour match under lights.
The 18-year-old will face off with childhood idols such as James Anderson and Joe Root when he lines up for a Cricket Australia XI against England at the Adelaide Oval from Wednesday.
NSW squad member Sangha said he looks forward to everything that comes with one of sport’s oldest rivalries.
“That’s the best part about it,” Sangha told the Newcastle Herald.
“These guys are really at the top of their game and trying to find the best ways to win that Ashes series.
“It will be a good taste to see what’s on offer before the big boys play.”
The opportunity to battle international opposition arrives less than a week after Sangha finished his HSC exams and four days after making 100 not out for club side Randwick-Petersham in the state capital.
That ton, scored against the University of NSW at Alan Davidson Oval on a rain-affected Saturday, followed a breakthrough game-winning 162 not out last month.
Sangha is now the youngest person since current Australian captain Steve Smith, who notched up his 34th first-class century while playing Sheffield Shield for the Blues on Tuesday, to reach triple figures twice in the Sydney first grade competition.
A decade apart Smith (17 years, 251 days in March, 2007) beat Sangha (18 years, 29 days in October, 2017) to the historic punch by less than five months.
However, Sangha admits this upcoming encounter will be a different test entirely.
“You grow up watching these players like idols,” he said.
“Especially someone like James Anderson, who I’ve admired as a swing bowler for such a long time. And Joe Root, who I’ve taken part of his game and put into mine.
“It’s a different feeling actually versing them now. They’ll be coming hard at you and saying some stuff and I’m not sure how to react. I’m probably going to laugh and just keep smiling.”
Adjusting to the pink ball will also be part of the “challenge” according to Sangha.
“You can tell by some of the shield results,” he said.
“The pink ball under lights will be pretty tough work, but it will be a good challenge.”
Sangha will back up for a second straight four-day fixture against the visitors in Townsville next week (November 15-18).
The five-match Test series begins in Brisbane on November 23.
Wallsend-product Sangha played in 11 different teams last summer, including a CAXI and the Prime Minister’s XI against Pakistan.
Next month he travels to Tasmania to skipper the ACT-NSW Country side at the Under-19 National Championships, which start on December 4.
Sangha hopes to be picked in the Australian team to contest the Under-19 World Cup in New Zealand between January 13 and February 3.