Glenn Maxwell lands a punch in the battle for six

Scott Pryde Roar Guru

113 Have your say

    Australian incumbent No.6 Glenn Maxwell has landed his first punch of the summer in the battle for the most widely debated position ahead of the Ashes.

    It’s been thought by most that Maxwell needed at least one good innings if he was a chance to retain the spot he held in the team during Australia’s recent tours of India and Bangladesh.

    The pressure told on him during the day-night round which opened the Sheffield Shield last week as he failed to put up a score, but batting on the Melbourne Cricket Ground, he seemed to return to something resembling form.

    Batting at first drop and being overshadowed by a superb Marcus Harris century, the ‘Big Show’ scored a patient 60 from 113 balls. That came against a strong Redbacks attack featuring a couple of bowlers in the race for Australia’s back-up pace position in Chadd Sayers and Joe Mennie.

    It was an incredibly important knock for Maxwell, particularly after Shaun Marsh and Hilton Cartwright both hit runs in challenging conditions at the W.A.C.A during the first round.

    Maxwell’s innings featured eight boundaries and a six, and while it’s not where he is going to bat for Australia, scoring runs against a seaming ball at the top of the order is an important step forward for the incumbent.

    The runs for Maxwell couldn’t have come at a more opportune time. With the squad for the first Test being announced in the not too distant future, success alluded the Western Australian trio most likely to be in competition for his spot.

    While Shaun Marsh, Mitch Marsh and Hilton Cartwright all made runs last round, they went with two, and a pair of ducks this time around, all to the bowling of Test quick Josh Hazlewood, who made his return to form.

    Australian batsman Shaun Marsh

    (AFP PHOTO / William WEST)

    While there’s no argument the Blues attack, featuring Mitchell Starc, Patrick Cummins, Nathan Lyon and Hazlewood is the best in the Shield, it was a fantastic opportunity for the Warriors’ trio to put runs on the board.

    With all three failing though, it will make them question whether they can handle the heat of the Ashes, even if conditions at Hurstville weren’t conducive to run scoring.

    Cameron Bancroft, who has had his name thrown up at different points went to stumps on 41 not out, while Ashton Turner made a half-century, so runs can be scored.

    It’s hard to make a judgement on who is going to play at No.6. Maxwell has done his chances no harm yesterday, but Cartwright made runs in the first game and has been touted as a better option in Australian conditions – and also possibly a more safe option than the Victorian, who has thrown his innings away more than once.

    In the battle for the wicket-keeper spot, it was Matthew Wade finally cracking double figures. Despite Alex Carey making 30 on Day 1 for the Redbacks and Peter Nevill doing similar, not adding to his overnight score, it doesn’t look like enough at this stage.

    Tasmania’s batting performances so far in the Shield have been well below par, but sitting on 9 for 150 at stumps, Matthew Wade’s patient 17 from 44 balls doesn’t look so bad.

    It’s not enough to suggest he is in anything approaching form, with scores of 3, 6, 9 and now 17 to start the summer, his challengers simply aren’t doing enough to reef the gloves away from the Tigers recruit.

    While Carey was already out, the Blues keeper Nevill squandered a huge chance to go on with things while batting with the tail today. Instead, he was caught behind to the bowling of Kane Richardson, departing for 32.

    It’s worth giving Wade some credit for his improving glove-work, but it’s still not at the standards of Nevill or Carey, and you have to wonder if the selectors might take a punt for the start of the summer – but for that option to be entertained, runs must be scored.

    The other position starting to come under pressure is that of Matt Renshaw. He has had three ordinary innings to start his summer, not racking up a score yet, but on surface value at least, it appears he hasn’t lost any ground today.

    Australian batsman Matt Renshaw

    (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

    Shaun Marsh looks to be his closest challenger, but just two yesterday isn’t going to help his cause. Locating another opener outside of Joe Burns, who is in similarly poor form, is like finding a needle in a haystack, and even without runs, Renshaw may also be safe in the side.

    The role of the backup bowling spot, despite in the favouritism of Jack Bird also looks far from settled. Chadd Sayers picked up another three wickets yesterday, coming off his best ever season and must surely be giving the Tasmanian a run for his money, despite the fact he picked up three for 41 from 17 economical overs.

    In other news from yesterday’s Shield action up and down the east coast, Hazlewood’s three wickets were backed up by superb economy rates and tight bowling from Starc and Cummins.

    Peter Handscomb started to hit out some of the cobwebs with a decent 43, which was overshadowed of course by the century to Harris and a half-century for Aaron Finch.

    While Hazlewood picked up three wickets, it’s hard to assess his workload off a very small sample space thanks to the weather. The fitness of he, Starc and Cummins after what could be a full day in the field if things don’t go to plan will be intriguing to monitor.

    Most of Australia’s top order batsmen – Renshaw, David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith and Peter Nevill are expected back at the crease sometime over the next 48 hours as we aim to get a better understanding on who might be picked for November 23.

    Meanwhile, in Perth, the English attack struggled against a mainly no-name Western Australian XI. James Anderson led the way with four wickets, however, Stuart Broad (1/60) and Chris Woakes (0/53) struggled. Craig Overton (2/70) and Mason Crane (2/75) both picked up a couple of wickets though as they fight for inclusion in the first Test.

    With that match now over, England winning by just seven runs, they now turn their attention to more important fixtures with the next being a four-day, day-night fixture against a Cricket Australia XI side in Adelaide.

    The second round of Sheffield Shield action will continue to unravel Australia’s selection puzzle from 10am (AEDT) today in Hobart, Melbourne and Hurstville.

    Scott Pryde
    Scott Pryde

    One of the mainstays of The Roar, Scott Pryde has written over 1,800 articles covering everything from rugby league to basketball, from tennis to cricket. You can follow him on Twitter @sk_pryde.

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    The Crowd Says (113)

    • November 6th 2017 @ 6:58am
      qwetzen said | November 6th 2017 @ 6:58am | ! Report

      One would like to think that the selectors recognise and appreciate a body of form rather than giving an enormous weighting to a player’s last innings.

      • November 6th 2017 @ 8:37am
        Curious George said | November 6th 2017 @ 8:37am | ! Report

        Qwetzen, or in Maxwells case a lack of a body of form

        The guy is no where near up to test standard

        • November 6th 2017 @ 9:26am
          Deir-ba-zor said | November 6th 2017 @ 9:26am | ! Report

          You are delusional.

        • Roar Guru

          November 6th 2017 @ 9:55am
          JamesH said | November 6th 2017 @ 9:55am | ! Report

          Averaging over 37 in 4 tests in Asian conditions is a lack of a body of form, is it?

          People are so quick to conflate Maxwell’s recent limited-overs failures with poor form vs the red ball. How easily we dismiss that patient century he scored this year against the world no.1 side in their own backyard (the first by an Aus #6 in over 3 years). He showed yesterday that he is still playing some decent long-form cricket.

          Yeah Maxwell can be unpredictable but imagine if he actually got a bit of support from the Captain and coach instead of basically being the team whipping boy? Even half of the rope the Marsh boys and Wade have received? He has been handled appallingly by CA but I guess if you’re not one of the boys then you’re not one of the boys.

          • Roar Guru

            November 6th 2017 @ 12:11pm
            Cadfael said | November 6th 2017 @ 12:11pm | ! Report

            Four tests and in those four tests is his one and only plus 50 score. A fairermethod reduce the total by the highest and lowest scores then getting an average.Doing this reduces the average tout 25.5. This erator ofs batting form. So far this season, too many others have better claims.

            • Roar Guru

              November 6th 2017 @ 2:41pm
              JamesH said | November 6th 2017 @ 2:41pm | ! Report

              Firstly, that’s a silly thing to do over a sample size of four tests. There’s no reason to do that unless you’re deliberately trying to make his record look worse.

              Secondly, his average in those four tests if you take out the highest and lowest scores is actually 30.6, which is presumably still better than that of everyone bar Smith and Warner. He also has scores of 25+ in three of those six innings, one of which was a not out, so at the very least he has shown that he is capable.

              Thirdly, it’s easy to argue that nobody has a better claim because of the level and locations at which Maxwell scored the runs. IMO averaging 30 (let alone 37) in those circumstances is more impressive than averaging 40-odd in a Shield season.

      • November 6th 2017 @ 8:46am
        Rob JM said | November 6th 2017 @ 8:46am | ! Report

        Wades form/last innings score is identical almost!

    • November 6th 2017 @ 7:32am
      Mike Dugg said | November 6th 2017 @ 7:32am | ! Report

      Renshaw is a cause for concern. Bancroft is an intriguing idea for national keeper given his top order batting experience. Cartwright for mine is still the best bet for 6.

    • November 6th 2017 @ 8:36am
      Curious George said | November 6th 2017 @ 8:36am | ! Report

      Mike, I like your idea for Bancroft as keeper, I dunno if the selectors will have the stones to go through it

      however they did select Maddinson so anythings possible i guess

      • November 6th 2017 @ 9:30am
        qwetzen said | November 6th 2017 @ 9:30am | ! Report

        Speaking of keepers… Apparently Carey missed a stumping yesterday, but he did take a screamer.
        Both of which should hopefully be in this

      • Roar Guru

        November 6th 2017 @ 12:24pm
        Chris Kettlewell said | November 6th 2017 @ 12:24pm | ! Report

        I understand people liking the Bancroft idea, but if he wanted to push for that himself he’d be keeping in these matches. The fact he’s just playing purely as a batsman at first class level sort of rules him out for the keeping position I would think.

        • November 6th 2017 @ 12:30pm
          BurgyGreen said | November 6th 2017 @ 12:30pm | ! Report

          He’s keeping for WA in this match as well as opening the batting.

          • Roar Guru

            November 6th 2017 @ 1:09pm
            Chris Kettlewell said | November 6th 2017 @ 1:09pm | ! Report

            Yeah, sorry, I hadn’t realised that until I read some comments further down and then looking into it. Considering they’d been picking Inglis as keeper not Bancroft and then that suddenly changed in this match, you can only surmise the national selectors have spoken to guys at WA and said that if he keeps in this match and does a decent job with the gloves while continuing to score runs then he’s a real shot at the test spot. Can’t see any other reason why he’d suddenly move to keeping in this match. And if that’s the case, then he must now be considered almost the front runner after following up keeping with opening the batting and carrying his bat through the WA innings.

            • November 6th 2017 @ 1:51pm
              BurgyGreen said | November 6th 2017 @ 1:51pm | ! Report

              My thoughts too.

              • November 7th 2017 @ 2:34am
                Don Freo said | November 7th 2017 @ 2:34am | ! Report

                Especially since Inglis is there as 12th man with Paris. Inglis could have played against the Poms. I think a NSP phone call to JL might have come when they landed in Sydney.

            • November 6th 2017 @ 6:08pm
              Jake said | November 6th 2017 @ 6:08pm | ! Report

              Chris – maybe don’t make comments until you do actually know?

            • November 6th 2017 @ 6:27pm
              Nudge said | November 6th 2017 @ 6:27pm | ! Report

              The Aus selectors may have said that to WA Chris, but I’d be guessing that Langer decided to throw him the gloves because of all the brilliant fast bowlers they have available. By getting Bancroft to keep they were then able to play 4 fast bowlers instead of 3.
              It would be a massive gamble to pick Bancroft to keep. My only memory of him keeping was in a 20/20 for Australia a few years ago when he missed a dolly of a stumping and fumbled a few balls that were played and missed at. Unless he just had a bad night, I’d find it hard to believe that he’s improved considering he’s played mainly as a batsman since.

              • November 7th 2017 @ 2:36am
                Don Freo said | November 7th 2017 @ 2:36am | ! Report

                Must have been a bad night. He is a genuine keeper and a very good one.

    • November 6th 2017 @ 8:45am
      Rob JM said | November 6th 2017 @ 8:45am | ! Report

      Cricinfo is on to Bancroft for keeper. Hopefully they get some play in Sydney over the next couple of days. I think WA will miss out on a second innings. Maxwell will get a second bat so a good innings could seal up the spot almost. Otherwise it will be a bat off in the last shield round I think. I doubt they will drop Renshaw for the first couple of tests. The only alternatives are Marsh and Harris and I don’t think their cases are strong enough yet. Good to see Ashton Turner get a 50 against NSW, hopefully he backs up his 50 ave from last season. Arguably the most promising future candidate for No 6 Batting allrounder(I have cartwright higher up the order)

      • Roar Guru

        November 6th 2017 @ 1:20pm
        Chris Kettlewell said | November 6th 2017 @ 1:20pm | ! Report

        WA just been bowled out, Bancroft carried his bat for 76 not out, opening the batting after having kept in the NSW innings. Certainly has to count in his favour. And you have to think that the change to suddenly have Bancroft keep for this match when going into the match it seemed like it was going to be unchanged from the first match with Inglis taking the gloves really feels like it’s come from the NSP having a word with Bancroft and WA to say that if he could keep and show that he was good enough with the gloves while continuing to score some runs then he was in with a real shot. And if that did happen, the, after this performance (and I’ve only seen his batting, I didn’t catch any of the NSW innings to see how his keeping went) then you’d have to think he’s almost the front-runner now!

        • November 7th 2017 @ 2:41am
          Don Freo said | November 7th 2017 @ 2:41am | ! Report

          Click on the replay of his catch of Nevill. Great reading of trajectory. Excellent technique. A few of our keepers would have gone with one hand.

    • November 6th 2017 @ 9:13am
      dangertroy said | November 6th 2017 @ 9:13am | ! Report

      Bancroft has a real chance to put together a case here. I’m really keen to know if he’s the good with the gloves – the only time I’ve seen him keep was when he was picked for one of those T20 sides at the end of the summer when the test and ODI teams were in new Zealand. From memory his keeping was nothing to write home about, but apparently he took a few sharp chances in this match.
      But if he can actually keep to a decent standard, having an opener that could come in at 7 would be a boon – especially if they pick a dasher at 6. Dan brettig wrote an article calling for a tortoise and hare combination for 6 and 7, and it makes a lot of sense. If you have Maxwell in at 6 and he goes in typical brain explosion mode, you can have Bancroft come in and drop anchor. Or, you can pick a more patient batsman at 6 and have Wade to come in and slog at 7.

      While I still think it’s fairly wide open, I hope by the end of this round the selectors have a decent idea of who they are going to pick and it will take something extraordinary in the next round to change that.

      • November 7th 2017 @ 2:43am
        Don Freo said | November 7th 2017 @ 2:43am | ! Report

        Pick Bancroft for either role. He averaged 50 at over 100 strike rate in the JLT.

    • November 6th 2017 @ 9:16am
      Chris Love said | November 6th 2017 @ 9:16am | ! Report

      Cartwright may be the the one champing at the bit but I think Maxwell deserves first chance in the first two tests. Remember he hasn’t had a chance in Australian conditions and certainly hasn’t done enough to be dropped ala last summer where the selectors when over board especially concerning Nevill. This 60 should give him a lot of confidence and unless someone comes out next and scores a big ton I think the first line up for the Ashes should be.


      • November 6th 2017 @ 9:53am
        Curious George said | November 6th 2017 @ 9:53am | ! Report


        That XI would struggle in Brisbane. Let me explain.

        Renshaw……..LBW early from Broad (3 runs from 30 balls)

        Warner…….nicks one to keeper (14 from 12 blls)

        Khawaja…..a nice 30-dd then LBW

        Smith ……20-odd, LBW (goes off looking back at replay and then complains about it for the next 5 days)

        Handscomb – 50-odd (bowled)

        Maxwell …. 4 runs (out caught , slogging)

        Keeper…. 15-20 runs (bowled)

        Starc (30-odd)

        Cummins (9 runs)

        Lyon (10 runs)

        Hazelwood (3 runs)

        TOTAL: All out 150-200 runs.
        Not. Good. Enough

        • November 6th 2017 @ 10:45am
          Deir-ba-zor said | November 6th 2017 @ 10:45am | ! Report

          That prediction is so horrendously pessimistic it’s comical.

          • Roar Guru

            November 6th 2017 @ 10:59am
            The Bush said | November 6th 2017 @ 10:59am | ! Report

            After read about England’s bowling performance over the weekend, it’s hard to see this happening…

            • November 6th 2017 @ 11:02am
              George said | November 6th 2017 @ 11:02am | ! Report

              Straight off the plane and dominating the opposition; that’s how Australia rolls when overseas, right?

              And then winning Test series aplenty…

              • Roar Guru

                November 6th 2017 @ 12:01pm
                JamesH said | November 6th 2017 @ 12:01pm | ! Report

                Lol do you really want England to play like Australia do overseas? That would be a dream come true for us Aussie fans.

              • Roar Guru

                November 6th 2017 @ 12:43pm
                The Bush said | November 6th 2017 @ 12:43pm | ! Report

                Nope, Australia doesn’t. But then I don’t expect Australia to go to England and dominate at all anymore. Just as I don’t expect England to do so at any point here…

              • November 6th 2017 @ 6:21pm
                George said | November 6th 2017 @ 6:21pm | ! Report

                I don’t either. Nor do I read anything into them not rolling the WA XI first up.

              • November 7th 2017 @ 2:45am
                Don Freo said | November 7th 2017 @ 2:45am | ! Report

                WA kids.

        • November 6th 2017 @ 4:49pm
          peter chrisp said | November 6th 2017 @ 4:49pm | ! Report

          I look at that the statistics above it’s only a 1 off, with those performances do you drop the whole side? No & your alternative?

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