– Matt Renshaw takes on pace quartet as hopes of an Ashes reprieve rise

November 15, 2017

The selection plot around incumbent Test opener Matt Renshaw took another turn on Wednesday morning, with the left-hander taking to the nets to face the full force of Australia’s pace attack ahead of the first Ashes Test in Brisbane next week.

With rival Cameron Bancroft thumping out a double-ton for Western Australia to smash down the selection door, Renshaw’s spot in the side looked exceedingly shaky after making just 70 runs across six Sheffield Shield innings’ this season.

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But having already been dismissed in Queensland’s clash against NSW at Allan Border Field, Renshaw suited up to face the most searching of 45-minute sessions from Pat Cummins, Jackson Bird, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood.

Prior to that, Renshaw spoke with Cricket Australia’s high performance boss Pat Howard, while national coach Darren Lehmann was in close attendance, warming him up with some throwdowns before watching the the remainder of the net session.

It may have simply been a chance for Australia’s quicks to bowl against an accomplished top-order bat in the nets. But Renshaw’s presence could also have been a strong indication that he remains firmly in the mix to retain his spot at the top of the order.

While Starc, in particular, was proving a nightmare for young Queensland prospects Angus Lovell and Nathan McSweeney, Renshaw handled a barrage of short bowling strongly and was only beaten a handful of times on his outside edge.

Australian selector Mark Waugh earlier in the week suggested Renshaw would be retained but that was before Bancroft put his name up in lights. Much will now depend on how the selection panel want to balance the side.

There is a chance Renshaw will keep his spot at the top of the order and Bancroft will bat at six, with Peter Nevill the most likely to be handed the gloves at the expense of Matthew Wade.

But that scenario would deprive captain Steve Smith of a bowling allrounder that could take the pressure off the fast bowling rotation. Western Australia’s Marcus Stoinis has more than a few supporters for the slot should that be the chosen path. – #1 – All News First!

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