Matthew Renshaw and Peter Handscomb have catapulted themselves into contention for withdrawals to the Australia Test team after both scored big for the Prime Minister’s XI.
While breaking into the Test squad will be difficult for the summer at home unless there are injuries, both are good spin players 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 without 218 balls.
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Handscomb followed up his 55 in his first dig with 75 off 138 balls in his second in a great partnership with Renshaw, which established a huge lead for the home side.
The Prime Minister’s XI were declared on 221 for 4 in their second innings with the West Indies 35 for 0 at stumps on the third day, needing another 274 runs to win.
The day and night clash of the pink ball at Manuka Oval presented the perfect opportunity for fringe Australian players to press their claims for a place in Australia’s squad for the India tour and Renshaw and Handscomb have cashed in on their chances of a retirement when an opportunity arises without harm. .
Renshaw and Handscomb made their Australia debut together against South Africa at the Adelaide Oval in November 2016.
However, Renshaw has not been seen in Australia’s Test batting line-up since their last match also against South Africa in April 2018, while Handscomb’s last Test was in January 2019 at the SCG against India.
The 26-year-old Renshaw has scored 636 runs in 11 Tests for Australia averaging 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 a strong start to the Sheffield Shield season, and given Australia’s inconsistent form away from home, both are in the mix for a stunning 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, with 200 not out against New South Wales at Drummoyne.
The 26-year-old has just finished off a fine season in the English County Championship, where he made 620 runs at 47.69 for Somerset.
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Handscomb was less impressive for Middlesex, where he finished his season early with 220 runs at 31.42 on the board, although he was the Shield’s top scorer last summer with 697 runs at 49.78.
Australia’s test team on home soil is settled after the Ashes’ 4-0 win last summer, but there are still opportunities for other players away from home.
Travis Head looks especially vulnerable in foreign conditions – averaging just 21.69 in away tests and scoring a high 26 in series in Pakistan and Sri Lanka this year – while David Warner has also struggled, averaging 29.13 on those two tours.