Ex-Test opener Matt Renshaw belts breakthrough Sheffield Shield hundred for Queensland

While the spotlight shone brightly on Will Pucovski, down the road the last youngster anointed as a long-term Test opener was making his first Shield hundred in two-and-a-half years.

Matt Renshaw’s unbeaten 168 against South Australia at Glenelg on Monday broke a century drought stretching back to March, 2018, when he made 143 not out against West Australia.

A lot has happened since then: He’s fallen out of Test contention, been dropped by the Bulls, and – exhausted by the constant grind — briefly farewelled cricket.

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Renshaw considered a fresh start with the Redbacks in the off-season but his decision to stay in Queensland has been vindicated by a long overdue hundred.

And how the Redbacks could have done with him in their top six, after they plumbed a new low to be 9-154 in reply to Queensland’s 5-496 (dec).

Mitchell Swepson has 5-55 – his third five-for in a row — to streak away at the top of the competition wicket-takers list.

Renshaw’s decline, fall and resurgence sounds a salutary note as the calls to elevate Pucovski to the Test side reach fever pitch.

Matt Renshaw celebrates his breakthrough Shield hundred.Source:Getty Images

Renshaw clips a ball off his hip during his unbeaten ton.Source:Getty Images

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And a footnote, if not an asterisk, hangs from Renshaw’s 168, as it came against a Redbacks attack that’s asking few questions and is all out of answers.

Chadd Sayers has bowled beautifully at times this season — and never better than his 3-27 from 29 overs against Queensland — but seven wickets at 46.42 is way below his usual mark.

After Sayers the bowling falls away rapidly. Lloyd Pope’s eight wickets have come at 84.25 apiece, while Wes Agar’s two have come at 214.5.

Liam Scott, 19, shows promise with the bat but one wicket at 228 are not the numbers of a genuine all-rounder.

Like Renshaw, Jimmy Peirson didn’t waste the golden opportunity presented by the wretched Redbacks – he celebrated a maiden century (109 from 125 balls) in his 38th first-class match.

SA was 2-115 when Travis Head was lbw to Swepson to trigger an all-too familiar collapse.

In his farewell Shield match, Callum Ferguson was not out 11 at stumps after every batsman that followed failed to reach double figures. Ferguson resumes on Tuesday with Pope (0 not out).

The Redbacks have conceded 400-plus first innings scores in each of their four games, but they’re not alone on that score – 10 totals of more than 400 have been posted in the nine Shield matches so far this season.

Redbacks coach Jason Gillespie offered no excuses for his team’s struggles and declared South Australia had to get better — fast.

“By and large we got ourselves out, didn’t we?” Gillespie said. “There’s no hiding from that fact.

“We need to be better with our decision-making. It’s up to each and every player to reflect on their dismissal and be better next time.

“We’re just not doing our jobs.”

Gillespie is only weeks into his coaching job and has had little or no time to stamp his authority on the side — let alone address the endemic problems in South Australian cricket.

“The lads are trying their guts out,” Gillespie said. “I’m proud of them for that. But we’ve got to be better at that decision making in those crunch moments.

Gillespie said his message in the rooms was straightforward: “I don’t want to be continually coming in here and having the same conversations.

“We need to be better. We need to make better decisions.”

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ABBOTT LOVING THE TOIL FOR BLUES

Sean Abbott’s coffee preference is unknown but he likes his pitches flat and white.

The dead-track specialist has thrived where so many others have withered on the unforgiving Adelaide strips.

The flatter the better, Abbott seemed to be saying on Monday, as he took 4-33 from 21.1 overs of hard toil on a drying surface.

Only Mitchell Swepson and Jackson Bird have more than Abbott’s 14 wickets this season as the bowlers have found the going hard on Adelaide’s plum batting wickets.

And Abbott’s miserly 14.35 is comfortably the best average of the competition’s leading bowlers.

His latest herculean effort kept NSW in the game after the Blues batsmen succumbed to be all out 64 on Sunday.

By stumps on Monday Nick Larkin (103 not out) and Moises Henriques (75 not out) had guided the Blues to 2-215 to eke out a 40-run lead.

The Park 25 No 1 track had plenty in it on Sunday but quickly dried in Monday’s 34C swelter – as shown by NSW’s second innings score. Still Abbott kept charging in to limit Tasmania’s lead.

Sean Abbott has been one of the bowlers of the Sheffield Shield season.Source:Getty Images

“Yesterday (Sunday) was a tough day,” Larkin said after play. “Tassie got the better of us.

“To be bowled out for 60 in the first innings, well, you’re a long way behind the game.

“So for our bowlers to do what they did … they kept us in it, so today it was our job to fight for them to give them a total to bowl at.”

Resuming on 4-149 after NSW was bowled out for 64 on Sunday, Tasmania posted 239 to lead by 175 on the first innings.

Jordan Silk joined Adelaide’s festival of the bat to make 106 – his first Shield century since November, 2018.

The Blues started disastrously, losing Daniel Hughes for a duck in Jackson Bird’s first over, before Larkin and Kurtis Patterson (26) consolidated.

The Tasmanians missed their chance when Beau Webster spilt Larkin in the slips when the NSW opener was 11.

Bird was the unfortunate bowler, and his mood didn’t improve when a misfield conceded a Larkin boundary from the very next ball.

Originally published asRemember me? Forgotten Test star’s breakthrough ton

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