Matthew Renshaw and Peter Handscomb have catapulted themselves into contention for recalls to Australia’s Test team after both notching big scores for the Prime Minister’s XI.
While breaking into the Test team will be difficult for the home summer unless there are injuries, both are good players of spin and are firmly in contention for the tour of India next year, especially with Glenn Maxwell on the sidelines recovering from a broken leg.
Renshaw backed up his first innings of 81 with a gritty century in the second, finishing 101 not out from 218 balls.
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Handscomb followed up his 55 in his first dig with 75 from 138 balls in the second in a big partnership with Renshaw, that set up a big lead for the home team.
The Prime Minister’s XI declared at 221 for 4 in their second innings with the West Indies 35 for 0 at stumps on day three, needing another 274 runs to win.
The Pink ball day-night clash at Manuka Oval presented the perfect chance for fringe Australian players to press their claims for a spot in Australia’s squad for the tour of India and Renshaw and Handscomb have done their chances of a recall when an opportunity arises no harm.
Renshaw and Handscomb debuted together for Australia against South Africa at the Adelaide oval in November of 2016.
However, Renshaw has not been seen in Australia’s Test batting line-up since his last match also against South Africa in April 2018, while Handscomb’s last Test was back in January of 2019 at the SCG against India.
Renshaw, 26, has scored 636 runs in 11 Tests for Australia at an average of 33.47 with three half centuries, one century and a top score of 184.
Handscomb has a Test record of 934 runs from 16 matches at an average of 38.91 with four half centuries, two centuries, with 110 his highest.
The Age reported that after strong starts to the Sheffield Shield season, and given Australia’s inconsistent form away from home, both are in the mix for a shock return for the India series.
Handscomb already has two centuries from the first two matches of the season, including an unbeaten 281 — his best first class score — against Western Australia last week.
Renshaw also has an unbeaten double century to his name, making 200 not out against New South Wales in Drummoyne.
The 26-year-old is fresh off a strong season in England’s County Championship, where he made 620 runs at 47.69 for Somerset.
Handscomb was less impressive for Middlesex where he ended his season early with 220 runs at 31.42 on the board, although he was the Shield’s topscorer last summer with 697 runs at 49.78.
Australia’s Test team on home soil is settled after last summer’s 4-0 Ashes victory, but there remains opportunities for other players away.
Travis Head looks especially vulnerable in foreign conditions — he averages just 21.69 in away Tests, and made a high score of 26 across series in Pakistan and Sri Lanka this year, while David Warner has also struggled, averaging 29.13 across those two tours.