Marcus Stoinis stood for a quarter of an hour on the WACA Ground pitch before play started on Tuesday visualising his first Sheffield Shield innings of the season.
He spent much of the next six hours ensuring Western Australia had a competitive total and hopes of defending it.
A decade after he made his Warriors debut before a long detour to Victoria, Stoinis produced a maiden half-century for his home State to deny his adopted team.
Stoinis’s 80 was the mainstay of WA’s 208 after the home team was sent in and failed to adapt to the green, hard and pace-friendly surface.
Then he dislodged pivotal opener Marcus Harris before Victoria raced to 3-153 against WA’s wayward new ball offerings with Will Pucovski unbeaten on 64 alongside veteran Cam White (14 not out).
Scott Boland sliced through the WA top order and Chris Tremain carved up the tail but in between Stoinis kept Victoria at bay and the scoreboard humming at better than four an over.
His previous highest WA score was just 33 but this innings saw him produce vital half-century stands with Josh Philippe and Josh Inglis.
But as mature and timely was Stoinis’s contribution, it was only one of several noteworthy elements in the helter-skelter start to the season.
No first day at the WACA has ever produced more wickets and runs than the combined total of 13 for 361 while the conditions meant that two Pakistan-born legspinners were named as 12th men for their respective teams.
Fawad Ahmed is now a Victorian veteran but Usman Qadir made his shield debut in remarkable circumstances when the WA recruit was called on to bat at No.11 after tailender Matt Kelly was felled second ball by a Tremain bumper.
Kelly failed a medical test and under the shield protocols introduced last season, Qadir became the first West Australian player to replace a team-mate as a concussion substitute. Kelly was in good spirits last night.
Philippe has proved a dashing opener in his brief time in the WA team and there was no change of attitude despite his move to No.6 where he hammered 41 from just 27 balls.
Then Inglis maintained the onslaught with a rapid 36 that saw the score rise towards 200 after it first appeared that WA might struggle to reach three figures.
The Victoria pace attack took 40 minutes to find its radar before Boland claimed three quick wickets to see the Warriors slump to 4-42.
Tremain struck first to bowl opener Will Bosisto for 15 which opened the door for Boland who soon trapped Jon Wells in front, bowled Ashton Turner for a duck and had recent Test batsman Hilton Cartwright gloving a catch down the legside.