Australian Test cricket's next generation makes its mark in Adelaide

时间:2019-11-16  作者:公仪蛴  来源:澳门拉斯维加斯平台  浏览:176次  评论:59条

“Hopefully that was the start of something. The start of a great career.” These were the words of James Sutherland, boss of Australia, as Matthew Renshaw was preparing to resume his innings from night one. He was on eight at the time.

Sutherland was accurately reflecting the sentiment of the nation as they woke up to back pages proclaiming much the same. I was with them too, suggesting within a quarter of an hour of his knock beginning that we were witnessing the next 10 years of Australian cricket – while googling the list of centuries on debut.

It was delirious, a bit ridiculous, and in its own way exciting. Especially after the mess that was Hobart. Mostly, it was a relief to be even having such a conversation.

Renshaw immediately felt right. From the moment he walked out to field, towering over the wicketkeeper at first slip – usually the home of the most experienced, not the least. The first time he touched the ball it was taking an assured low catch. He wore a long-sleeved shirt. Then a cricket jumper. He looked a player.

It brought back memories of when the Sydney Morning Herald ran three pages of Usman Khawaja for a maiden innings of 37 when in January 2011 Australian cricket was last craving change and youth and stability all at once.

Jump forward a couple of days and assessments of Renshaw’s first outing as an Australian cricketer are a bit more measured. It wasn’t that his second innings was ineffective - anything but, batting through the successful chase – but it did serve as a reminder that the he is is 20, and by natural extension, a work in progress.

Renshaw again displayed savvy surviving the new ball with committed leaving his default. His hands were soft enough for edges not to carry, and wrists strong enough to whip runs square. But he kept playing and missing, often by many inches; 15 times in total, according to CricViz.

What Renshaw had successfully achieved was taking the sting out of South Africa’s efforts to pull off something spectacular. Defending 126 is highly unusual, but not in the context of Australia’s recent history. After combining with David Warner for a half-century stand in their first attempt – milestones opening pairs take seriously - it was game over.

In a crude comparison to the man Renshaw replaced, the 46 balls he faced in that first innings was a number that Joe Burns had only gone beyond seven times in 19 innings as an Australian opener. He absorbed 137 by the time the job was done Sunday evening.

Captain Steve Smith is a fan. He likes that Renshaw swings the bat in line with the ball’s original path rather than chasing it after pitching, a considerable problem for his top order of late. This is illustrated also in his wagon wheel. Across 183 balls he faced in the match, he scored on the off-side only three times. He may be young, but he knows his areas.

Then there’s his temperament. When the crowd got feisty towards the end of the chase when Renshaw went 31 balls without scoring, a lesser character may throw the bat around in response. After all they were going to win and he had put in a decent shift. But that’s not the resilience that Smith craves after Hobart.

Renshaw acknowledged this, saying it was difficult cutting the crowd out. “I had to just keep myself grounded and not do something stupid,” he explained. “I was playing the way it works for me in Shield cricket which is to bat as long as possible and let the bowler make a mistake first.” Simple but sound.

South Africa’s second innings century maker Stephen Cook framed his own gritty hand in a similar way: “It wasn’t a pretty show but I’ve never been a pretty player,” he said. In the case of both, they may not be what the people always want, but they are what teams frequently need.

Fellow debutant Peter Handscomb’s half-century counts as a selection triumph of a different kind. The most impressive phase of his innings was getting through the first quarter hour were he struggled for fluency. He said to get through this initial burst he invested in his routine for each and every ball. Sure enough, through that process he quickly came good.

The third new man Nic Maddinson’s stay was hardest of all to watch, removed missing a half-volley that his instincts would normally have urged him to slay. It will hurt, and that’s good. As it is for Renshaw and Handscomb, time is on his side.

For Smith, the shattering series loss has been made easier to take for what he now has in his dressing room. “I felt a bit of a switch straight away in energy and presence around the group,” he said of three additions in the top six without the scarring of recent history.

Singling out Handscromb, Smith believes this positive energy was the catalyst for the stunning diving catch he took to remove Faf du Plessis the previous night, beginning a late flurry of wickets integral to the final result.

It felt right, then, that with two runs left for victory Handscomb came to the middle, joining Renshaw to complete the job together. Maybe those audacious hopes will be right and the future is now. One thing seems certain: it will be fun finding out.