Five winners and losers from Round 2 of the Sheffield Shield

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    The second round of the Sheffield Shield is over and a few players put their names up in lights, while other Test incumbents continued to falter.

    Let’s look at the winners and losers from Round 2.

    Winners

    1. Jake Lehmann
    The No.6 spot for Australia might go to a bolter after a stunning performance from Jake Lehmann for South Australia against Victoria.

    Lehmann backed up his first innings 103 with 93 in the second to put him right in contention for the first Test. The son of national coach Darren Lehmann hasn’t gathered much national attention, however, he has quietly put together a tidy average.

    At 24 years of age, from 28 games, he now averages 41, with a good conversion rate of eight half-centuries to five centuries.

    Lehmann, a bit like his father, is an inventive player capable of scoring all around the wicket and while he wasn’t considered to be in the mix two weeks ago, more runs next week could see him forcing the selectors into picking him.

    2. Mitchell Starc
    England, beware – Mitchell Starc is fit, firing and leaving a trail of destruction in his wake.

    After claiming a ten-wicket haul against South Australia last week, Starc became the third Australian in history, and the first man in 39 years, to take two hat-tricks in the same game, as he blew Western Australia apart.

    While Starc claimed the same three tailenders in both innings, he is a weapon bowling at the lower order with his mix of searing pace and ability to target the batsman’s feet. Lower order batsman are never comfortable facing him and while the wickets could be seen as “cheap”, he is effective at mopping up a tail as well as being the spearhead.

    3. Shaun Marsh and Joe Burns
    I’m cheating a bit here, grouping Marsh and Burns together. You might think scores of 91 for Marsh and 70 for Burns aren’t enough to put two discarded Australian batsmen in the winners’ category, however there are not many openers putting their hands up around the country.

    While Cameron Bancroft had an excellent game, scoring 76 not out and 86 against the powerful Blues attack, he is coming off a couple of lean seasons and likely needs a few more scores to put his name back up in lights.

    Australia's Joe Burns celebrates scoring a century

    (AAP Image/Tracey Nearmy)

    The scores keep their names right in the mix for the first Test, given Matt Renshaw’s faltering form and the fact both players have performed well for Australia at various points in the past 18 months.

    Burns did a pretty good job opening the batting for Australia, averaging 38 from 13 Tests and his attacking style of batting is something generally favoured by the selectors.

    While Marsh averages just 36 from 23 Tests, his stylish technique always seems to suck the selectors back into giving him another chance. If either player were to score a century in the third Shield round, watch this space.

    4. Glenn Maxwell
    Maxwell came into this game under intense scrutiny after struggling in last week’s Shield game and in the previous few months for Australia, which led to him being dropped from the ODI side.

    However, while Maxwell would have been frustrated to not capitalise fully on scores of 60 and 64 batting at No.3 against South Australia, he batted fluently and found form as he looks to cling on to his Test spot. Maxwell was out bowled in freakish circumstances in the first innings, however looked in fine touch, striking at around 80.

    5. Callum Ferguson
    Ferguson is a forgotten man of Australia cricket. He scored an impressive 182 not out against Victoria at the MCG and even at 32, Ferguson still has some good years left in him.

    He would feel quite miffed that he was only given one Test on a green seamer in Hobart, never coming into contention again. Ferguson has had some untimely injuries over his career, and his record of averaging 41 from 30 ODIs is very good.

    Ferguson is probably unlikely to be considered again for the Test team, given he had a lean summer last season. However, with Australia struggling to find a real replacement for George Bailey in the No.4 spot in ODI cricket, that might be an opening he can capitalise on in the next 12 months.

    Losers

    1. Hilton Cartwright
    Last week, it looked like Cartwright was in pole position to claim the No.6 batting spot for Australia at the Gabba against England. Now, a week on, there are doubts about Cartwright after a brutal pair against a Test-strength NSW attack.

    If Cartwright had even managed a half-century in this game, it might have sealed his spot. However, he was out without scoring in both innings to Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins in what was a tough examination of the 22-year-old. It’s his first real setback and mentally that can play on a batsman’s mind, so it will be interesting to see how he responds next week.

    2. Matthew Wade
    It just keeps going from bad to worse for the incumbent Australian wicketkeeper. Wade might have picked the wrong time to move States and it’s looking like he might lose his position in the national side.

    While not excusing his poor form with the bat, it wouldn’t be easy to jump into a side that has been a rabble for the past few years. Wade managed scores of nine and 17 and hasn’t passed 20 in four Shield innings since making the move from Victoria to Tasmania.

    While his wicketkeeping rivals are not exactly setting the world on fire, Wade looks well down on confidence and form, and only a massive performance next week will see him any chance of being there in Brisbane.

    Matthew Wade

    (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

    3. Matthew Renshaw
    Another Matthew under pressure in the Test team is Renshaw. His form should be a big concern for the selectors heading into the First Test.

    Renshaw has managed just 53 runs across four innings and chewed up 237 balls in the process. While occupying the crease is a good trait for an opening batsman, an innings of 19 from 109 balls with 96 dot balls is not acceptable at the top level.

    While Renshaw has done a very solid job so far for Australia, all young players have a period where they are struggling and under pressure and he is right now.

    4. Jake Doran
    The Tigers seem to have thrown Doran in the deep end this year, opening the batting with him despite the youngster averaging just 21 from 14 previous Shield games.

    Unfortunately for Doran, he made a pair against an experienced Queensland bowling attack as the Tigers were routed once again.

    This was a kid who, three to four years ago, was touted as the next Michael Hussey of Australia’s middle order. Doran made the decision to leave New South Wales at a young age and take up an opportunity to play Shield Cricket with Tasmania.

    Perhaps he was picked well before he was ready mentally, but it seems to have been a tough gig for him to handle. At 20 years of age, he still has plenty of time to feel like he belongs at state level. However, those mental scars can be hard for young players to overcome when they are exposed to first-class cricket too early.

    5. Nic Maddinson
    Controversially inserted at the top of the order ahead of Ed Cowan, Maddinson failed to transfer his excellent white ball form to the four-day format, making starts of 22 and 16 at Hurstville Oval.

    Maddinson has scored just 46 runs in four innings and while there is no doubting his fantastic talent and ball striking ability, there are still a few demons there from his brief stint in the Australian team.

    He was picked out of the blue, on gut instincts in some respects, and he wasn’t ready for it. Maybe he would be better suited in the middle order in first-class cricket with Daniel Hughes or Cowan returning to the top of the order.