Queensland left-hander Matt Renshaw’s search for a pivotal innings in his quest for a Test opening berth has been undermined by persistent rain at the Gabba against Western Australia.
Renshaw was unbeaten at lunch on 37 with opening partner Joe Burns 19 not out, but that was as far as they got on day one of the Sheffield Shield clash.
Stumps was called more than an hour before the scheduled close with the Bulls 0-61.
The visitors won the toss and bowled. Renshaw was confronted with overcast skies, a pitch with a green tinge and a quality pace attack.
It was just the test the Australian selectors would have wanted for Renshaw and he started his innings with aplomb.
It was tough early with pace bowler Jhye Richardson finding his groove on return from a dislocated shoulder.
Renshaw left the ball well, rotated the strike nicely with Burns and played one sumptuous pull shot through midwicket to the boundary off Liam Haskett.
He had the demeanour of a man prepared to settle in for a long innings.
The 27-year-old is vying with Western Australia’s Cameron Bancroft and Victoria’s Marcus Harris to replace David Warner at the top of Australia’s order for the opening Test against the West Indies in January.
Warner will retire after the third and final Test against Pakistan in Sydney.
Renshaw will not be hanging his hat on a gritty 30-odd and with the forecast improved for the final three days of the Shield match he has the opportunity to post a big century.
The three Shield games in progress that stated on Tuesday are the last of the calendar year but Renshaw, Harris and Bancroft will all get another key opportunity to impress Australian selectors next week when they represent the Prime Minister’s XI against Pakistan in Canberra.
Meanwhile, wicketkeeper Sam Harper has smashed the third-fastest century in Sheffield Shield history, dragging Victoria out of early trouble with an extraordinary knock against South Australia.
Forced to bat first after losing the toss on Tuesday, the Vics crumbled to 4-29 in tricky, overcast batting conditions at the Adelaide Oval.
But as batting became slightly easier, Harper launched an aggressive rear-guard assault against the Redbacks to help Victoria reach 5-187 by stumps.
It was Harper’s third first-class century in his 44th game, bringing up the milestone in just 64 balls in a knock that included six sixes.
In one over Harper took Redbacks bowler Nathan McAndrew for 26 after belting three sixes and two fours with only one dot ball.
In Sydney, some middle-order resistance has helped NSW fight back on a rain-interrupted opening day of their Sheffield Shield clash with ladder-leaders Tasmania.
No.6 Ollie Davies’s unbeaten 58 pushed the Blues to 7-178 at stumps at the SCG on Tuesday.
While nowhere near a defendable total, NSW will be happy with the response after they were left reeling at 3-26 in tricky batting conditions under grey skies.
Stumps were called after 52 overs as umpires halted play due to bad light.
Tasmania quick Lawrence Neil-Smith (5-44) snared his second first-class five-wicket haul, vindicating the Tigers’ decision to bowl first after winning the toss.
Missing several players to international Twenty20 duty in India, NSW decided to blood teenage talent Sam Konstas for his first-class debut.
The 18-year-old was presented with his NSW cap by former Australia allrounder Shane Watson before coming in to bat at No.3.
Konstas made 10 in tough conditions before falling to Tasmanian allrounder Beau Webster.
NSW captain Moises Henriques (54) helped steer the Blues out of trouble, combining with Davies for a vital 81-run stand for the fifth wicket.
Test spinner Nathan Lyon was back in the NSW team after being rested for the Blues’ thumping defeat by Tasmania in Hobart last week.
Lyon is working his way back to full fitness after tearing his calf during the Ashes.
NSW will be determined to put on a stack of runs when play resumes on Wednesday morning, with Tasmania’s batting line-up having been in scintillating touch to start the season.