Matt Renshaw has posted what could be the most crucial century of his career as he makes his case to replace retiring opener David Warner in the Australian Test side.
The former Test player impressed for the Prime Minister’s XI against Pakistan, bringing up his ton early in the final session of day three at Manuka Oval in Canberra.
The PM’s XI were 3-345 late in the day with the four-day contest heading towards a draw after the tourists made 9-391.
Renshaw added 37 runs in the second session with his only boundary a genuine edge that beat the wicketkeeper as he played a controlled innings while creeping towards three figures.
But he’s probably sealed honours in the ‘bat-off’ between the leading contenders to replace Warner.
On Thursday, openers Cameron Bancroft (53) and Marcus Harris (49) made starts but couldn’t go on with the job, missing their chances to land a blow in the race to take Warner’s vacant job.
All-rounder Cameron Green looked in great touch but he reached at a wide Faheem Ashraf delivery and nicked him through to the wicketkeeper just as a big score looked in play.
The 14-Test veteran Renshaw played for Australia in India earlier this year, with Warner himself nominating him as the man who should take his spot in the side.
He struggled to find his feet early on Friday but eventually got going, parking Pakistan spinner Abrar Ahmed back over his head for six.
Renshaw danced down the pitch and took two more boundaries off Ahmed as he finally looked to take the game on, before going back into his shell through the second session.
Green, who lost his spot in the Test team during this year’s Ashes series, could come into the side if either Marnus Labuschagne, Mitch Marsh or Travis Head is moved up to open.
Punters perhaps got a look at a future Australian leader, with 24-year-old Nathan McSweeney playing some exquisite square drives on his way to 34 not out.
McSweeney, who is captaining the PM’s XI, has been earmarked as a future national team leader having skippered Australia A earlier this year.
Pakistan are without first-choice bowlers Shaheen Shah Afridi, Hasan Ali and Mohammad Wasim.
But they would be impressed by the form of allrounder Ashraf (1-50 off 19 overs), who is expected to play in Perth.
Ahmed, who is a chance to play the first Test, exited the tour match on Friday afternoon and appeared to be holding an injured calf muscle.