Renshaw shines all too late for tour
Having been overlooked for both the home Ashes series and the subsequent tour to South Africa, Matt Renshaw looks to have found some form again.
As his Australian teammates come together for a highly anticipated tour to South Africa, the man many suggest is the most resolute opening batsman in the Australian game has peeled off a much-needed century back home.
Having been cast aside in favour of adding Test debutant Cameron Bancroft to the Australian Test side for the Ashes series, Matt Renshaw looked a young player out of touch with his own game and struggling to compile the necessary runs to force his way back into contention.
Even as fellow axed batsman Joe Burns shined for Queensland, Renshaw appeared to have a dismal time at the crease over much of the summer but a drought-busting century against Victoria at the glorious Melbourne Cricket Ground could act as an important marker in his career progress.
Early summer struggles
A succession of low scores led to his original axing in favour of Bancroft, and, as with many similar cases, only a weight of runs will force Renshaw back into Test calculations.
Late season runs, in the form of half-centuries against South Australia and Tasmania, combined with his 170 against the Victorian attack of Peter Siddle, Chris Tremain, Fawad Ahmed and Scott Boland should provide Renshaw a much-needed confidence boost and aid him in his efforts to return to the international arena.
Originally pegged as the sort of stout, resolute opener Australia could build around at the top of their innings, Renshaw’s dip in form saw him stunningly ousted from the side despite a healthy average of 36.64 from his 18 innings at Test level.
With tours to Bangladesh and India amongst his ten Tests, the early run-compiling by Renshaw was seen as the sort of perfect foil for the slap-dash, crash and wallop approach of then opening partner David Warner.
Bancroft doesn’t nail down spot
The man who replaced Renshaw, West Australian Cameron Bancroft certainly did not put together the sort of summer that would make him undroppable leaving the door ajar for the likes of Renshaw or Burns to put themselves back into the Australian Test side.
Over the course of five Tests against England, of which Australia won four and drew one, Bancroft compiled just 179 runs at 25.57, managing to cross the half-century threshold just once with an unbeaten 82 in the second innings of the first Test in Brisbane.
From there Bancroft found himself targeted by an England bowling attack which clearly saw him as the weak link of the Australian top order.
While Bancroft retained his spot for the tour to South Africa, he is far from certain to nail down the role.
Given his grit and fight, it’s hard not to think someone like Matt Renshaw would have the perfect temperament in the face of an attack boasting Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander and Kagiso Rababa amongst others.