Renshaw looks back to break the drought and advance the Ashes case

In a roundabout way, Matthew Renshaw’s severe lack of meaningful time at the punching kink ahead of his star turn in Lincoln this week could prove to be as much a blessing as it is a disappointment.

Renshaw, who was dropped after the first Test of Australia’s recent tour of India and only then returned as a substitute after suffering a concussion during the second game, had just 16 balls to manage in nine weeks before beating New Zealand A on scores of 112 and 78 dominated in Australia’s threesome. Wicket defeat this week.

The impressive returns came after some difficult times in India; He followed a first golden duck with a pair of twos before losing his spot to Travis Head (replacing him for the second Test) and then Cameron Green (returning from injury for the third), while Peter Handscomb was also favoured the middle order.

The short-lived nature of Renshaw’s three goals on sinfully spinning pitches led to an unintended aha moment during the series.

Highlights of Day One: Renshaw dominates Day One of the A Series with an unbeaten 92

“We had a batters’ meeting and we looked at footage of all the guys and unfortunately they didn’t have enough footage of me to watch so they went back and put some footage of me from 2017 up there,” he said Renshaw, whose first overseas Test Tour went to India in 2017, told from New Zealand.

“I just realized how big a difference my technique was from 2017 to now. So that’s a great learning, figuring out what I’ve done well on this series and then looking forward to now.

“One thing I noticed was that my defense was pretty solid back then and I wasn’t playing too many shots off my defense…at the end of the day I just trusted my defense and that’s what you really do must india.”

Renshaw hit 16 balls in three innings on Australia's tour of India // Getty
Renshaw hit 16 balls in three innings on Australia’s tour of India // Getty

Conditions at the Bert Sutcliffe Oval in New Zealand’s South Island, designed to mimic what the Aussies will experience during this year’s Ashes tour and which Renshaw said “felt very English”, particularly in the early stages of the game, were a far cry from the raging gymnasts he had struck up in Nagpur and Delhi.

But the left-hander, who has taken his Test tally to 14 games since appearing internationally as a newly-turned 20-year-old in 2016, is confident his performance in the A-Tour opener suggests he has a strong prospect of making his Ashes debut this year.

David Warner’s future remains murky, although Australia have suggested he is sticking with his plans for the Test World Cup final in June. Should one become available, Renshaw would be a prime candidate to repeat an opening berth.

The 27-year-old was the winningest player for a fledgling Australia senior team, who won more than twice as many wickets as their Kiwi counterparts this week, only because their generous declaration backfired in the second inning as the hosts chased 365 in the closing session.

Renshaw was nonetheless pleased with how he’d handled a three-bowler New Zealand A attack with 43 Test caps between them (Australia’s A, on the other hand, had just two), with the Dukes ball, used for UK Tests, swinging and jamming early .

Scott Kuggeleijn aimed at the visitors with a barrage of quick, short shots in a Neil Wagner-style attack, a style of attack Renshaw admits he had never encountered in top-flight cricket before.

Day four highlights: Peirson’s reflex stunner as Aus A goes down in the opener of the series

Although confidence in his defense was an important lesson from India, the Queenslander didn’t hesitate to take on Kuggeleijn’s blistering pace when the need arose.

His better-than-run-a-ball second innings of 78 helped line up his side and underscored his ability to shift gears when needed.

“The first innings were nice because I haven’t hit as much as I would have liked for the last four months,” said Renshaw, whose 169-ball first innings hand marked his fifth top-flight century in the last 12 months.

Day two highlights: Australian batsmen take control of the opener of the A Series

“I’ve had three sluggers since the end of the Big Bash, so not being able to bat and not being sure how I was going to turn out midway through India was a really weird feeling.

“It was a little strange being back out there in a quality game. Then the second innings was just about addressing the game situation. We were ahead of the game and wanted to make a statement.”

Renshaw, who lost his place in Australia on the eve of the 2017/18 Ashes and failed to feature in the next two Test series against England, has opted not to seek a county contract for the early part of the northern summer.

He has had three separate county stints with Somerset and Kent, averaging 44.68 and five hundred points in the Championship, although he is aware the likes of Stuart Broad, James Anderson and Jofra Archer pose a different challenge.

“I’ve had some success at county cricket in England so I know how the game is going there,” said Renshaw.

“Obviously it’s a little different with an Ashes test and this bowling attack, but the way you play is always evolving and figuring out how to play on any given day is probably the biggest part of it beating.”

Series New Zealand A vs Australia A

First four-day match: April 1-4, Bert Sutcliffe Oval, Lincoln

Second four-day game: April 8-11, Bert Sutcliffe Oval, Lincoln

Both games will be streamed live on

Squad Australia A: Wes Agar, Xavier Bartlett, Jordan Buckingham, Aaron Hardie, Caleb Jewell, Spencer Johnson, Campbell Kellaway, Nathan McSweeney, Mitch Perry, Jimmy Pierson, Matthew Renshaw, Mitchell Swepson, Tim Ward, Teague Wyllie

New Zealand A squad: Tom Bruce (c), Adi Ashok, Doug Bracewell, Henry Cooper, Jacob Duffy (Game 1 only), Dean Foxcroft, Cam Fletcher, Mitch Hay, Scott Kuggeleijn, Cole McConchie, Robbie O’Donnell, Will O’Rourke, Ajaz Patel , Brett Randell, Sean Solia Renshaw looks back to break the drought and advance the Ashes case

Russell Falcon

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