Australia coach Justin Langer may be looking to opener Matt Renshaw to shore up a brittle middle-order in the second Test against Pakistan.
Langer revealed that only a lack of match fitness had kept the Sheffield Shield’s leading runscorer last season from being named in the first Test XI.
The success of Usman Khawaja and Aaron Finch as an opening partnership and failure of the Marsh brothers to get runs at three and four could mean that Renshaw slots in at number three rather than opening the batting.
Speaking to the press in Dubai Langer said: “He [Renshaw] is a very, very good young player.
“The only thing that played against him this game and not his ability, not his work ethic, he’s done all the things so well over the last six months.
“It’s really hard to come into these conditions when you haven’t got match fitness. People could argue with that and that’s fine but my view on the world is that there’s nothing like match practice and he just hadn’t had any.
“He’s a terrific young player, really good in the group. I admire the way he’s gone about it, he had a smile on his face the whole time and there’s plenty of future for Matt Renshaw.
“Whether it comes in opening or batting No.3 or … it could come anywhere. He’s a good player. I’ve always said if you open you can bat anywhere in the order. Time will tell.”
Langer feels that Khawaja and Finch have earned another shot at opening together with stands of 140 and 87 which leaves debutant Marnus Labuschagne on the bubble after his efforts of 0 and 13. The final piece of the ill-fitting first Test puzzle was Travis Head who was out for a duck in the first innings but hit a vital 72 in the second.
“One of the main building blocks is a really strong opening partnership,” Langer added. “So for the guys to get 140-run opening partnership and an 87-run partnership … that’s huge for our team.
“Whenever you’re building a team you’re always looking for the opening partnership and they (Khawaja and Finch) have certainly both put their best foot forward and they’ve obviously got a good chemistry to have two great partnerships.
“The job if you’re not in the team is to work really hard and make a lot of runs to force yourself in, to be so good that you can’t be ignored.
“That’s how it’s always been in Australian cricket, and that’s how it’s got to be. And that’s the same with Matt or any of the players who (weren’t) in the XI for this game.”
The second Test gets underway on 16 October in Abu Dhabi.
Australia Test squad: Tim Paine (c), Ashton Agar, Brendan Doggett, Aaron Finch, Travis Head, Jon Holland, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitch Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Michael Neser, Matthew Renshaw, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc.
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