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Renshaw defies critics - and his parents

Cricket

The only thing Matt Renshaw thought he would be wielding this week was a golf club.

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Or so the joke went.

Instead the maligned Australian opener came out swinging with the bat at the Gabba yesterday to silence his doubters.

Renshaw hit an entertaining 71 on day one of the pink ball first Test against Pakistan.

Without a Big Bash League Twenty20 contract or a Sheffield Shield game for two months, Queensland’s Renshaw joked he had initially made very different plans for this week.

“My game style has always been more four day cricket,” the Matthew Hayden lookalike said.

“I joke around that BBL time was going to be my golf season – this has changed that.”

The left-handed opener’s golf plans were thrown out the window with his shock Test call-up in Adelaide last month.

Still, no one expected Renshaw to wield the willow at the Gabba day-night clash after his cautious approach on Test debut.

He answered his critics with a sparkling maiden half century facing a pink ball in his second Test.

Renshaw struck nine fours in the 125-ball knock, at times challenging champion leg spinner Yasir Shah.

Surprisingly Renshaw was outscoring David Warner when his opening partner was dismissed for 32, ending a 70-run opening stand.

Australia were 3-288 at stumps on day one, with captain Steve Smith 110 not out and Peter Handscomb unbeaten on 64.

“I kept looking at the scoreboard and that was happening,” Renshaw said of outscoring Warner.

“I was a bit surprised but didn’t really want to say too much to him.

“It was nice to get another (second) 50 partnership with Davey.”

But it seems Renshaw hasn’t pleased everyone by ditching his “go slow” approach.

The 20-year-old revealed his parents were a chance of returning from his sister Hannah’s graduation and seeing him bat in the final night session.

Unfortunately, he fell for an entertaining 71 by dinner.

“They told me I had to be 80 not out at the dinner break – I couldn’t do that so I let them down,” Renshaw laughed.

“Hannah’s graduation is a big deal for her – it’s good that they went to see her.”

In his parents’ absence, Renshaw’s Toombul Cricket Club teammates in Hawaiian shirts cheered the big left-hander on to his debut half-century in his second Test.

His cricket mates lovingly carried a life-size cardboard cut-out of the left-handed batsman on the boundary fence.

“It was a bit strange seeing my face on a mannequin, (while I was) out there batting,” Renshaw said.

“It probably helped take my mind off the game but it was good fun.”

It puts more pressure on recovering opener Shaun Marsh (finger) who is pushing for a Boxing Day Test nod.

For now, Renshaw seems a lock for the second Test in Melbourne.

This time, maybe even his parents will attend.

-AAP

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