Marnus Labuschagne was again the immovable object while returning Mitchell Starc showed glimpses of his irresistible force as first-day honours were shared between NSW and Queensland in the Sheffield Shield.
The Queensland Bulls have been stockpiling youthful batting talent this Sheffield Shield, including 19-year-old opener Matt Renshaw, and middle-order prospects Sam Heazlett and Marnus Labuschagne.
Between these three, Queensland’s batting stocks appear well covered for some time. It’s easy to forget that Chris Lynn is only his mid-twenties.
But I have been most impressed by Renshaw since he was thrown into the deep end in early 2015.
While the young man has been hit-and-miss in the new year, his average of almost 43 after just eight matches – including two big centuries – cannot be overlooked.
Renshaw’s innings of 170 against New South Wales in early December was a fine knock and carried Queensland in their first innings – the next highest score was 34, from Heazlett.
His next Shield match, in February of this year, saw Renshaw post another terrific hundred, this time against the Redbacks. Thus far he has been unable to translate more good starts into big scores, but he is a real grinder and grafter at the top of the order, not dissimilar to Cameron Bancroft from WA or Travis Dean from Victoria – both of whom have also featured prominently in the runs this season.
Australian cricket will not be actively seeking out new blood at the top of the order anytime soon following the emergence of Joe Burns since November last year, and second coming of the gifted Usman Khawaja – two batsmen who also both wear Queensland colours.
Still, Renshaw is part of the up-and-coming crop of young, quality batsmen Australia will have at their disposal in the next few years.
What has also been highlighted is the depth in Queensland’s batting line-up – something they have been devoid of in recent years.
As a result they find themselves second on the table, pushing for what would be a deserved place in the final.