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Aussies have Ashes edge for openers

Gritty Renshaw and flamboyant Warner an Ashes lock in contrast to England's uncertainty

Towering Test tyro Matthew Renshaw has one more crucial subcontinental challenge ahead, but the left-hander believes he’s the perfect Ashes counterpoint to his pocket-rocket opening partner David Warner.

Despite a chastening first Test defeat to Bangladesh in Dhaka this week, Renshaw enhanced his reputation as one of the game’s most versatile young prospects as he top-scored in Australia’s first innings with a battling knock of 45.

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While the loss put the spotlight on a number of players in the lead-in to the Ashes, Australia look to have a rock-solid opening combination in Warner and Renshaw for this summer and beyond.

It stands in stark contrast to England, who have cycled through 12 different opening partners for veteran former captain Alastair Cook over the last five years.

And while Renshaw insists taking on the new ball at the Gabba in November is a distant thought for now, his and Warner's contrasting builds and techniques could give England bowlers a major headache.

"I'm not a bowler myself but I know that it's probably tougher to find your length especially against someone who's as tall as me and as short as Davey," Renshaw told reporters ahead of their first training session in Chittagong.

Renshaw and Warner talk tactics in Bangladesh // Getty
Renshaw and Warner talk tactics in Bangladesh // Getty

"You see it a lot with right-handers and left-handers, how tough it is for bowlers to adjust their line.

"So I think it (the Ashes) is going to be interesting but we've just got to try and focus on the next Test in Chittagong."

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The yin and yang of Warner's free-wheeling approach and Renshaw’s more dogged method looks set to be one of the defining features of Australia’s top-order in years to come.

Captain Steve Smith pointed to Australia's lacklustre first-innings tally of 217 as the single biggest reason for their loss in Dhaka, and the margin of defeat would almost certainly have been greater had it not been for Renshaw's gritty effort.

On a pitch Renshaw said posed a unique challenge due to large variations in turn and bounce, he scraped his way through 94 balls to keep Australia in the hunt.

Warner on the other hand, after a first-innings failure, blazed a rapid 112 in the second dig though the tourists' top-order again largely failed to fire, falling short of their target of 265.

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Despite their distinct styles, Renshaw says he took plenty out of the way Warner batted in his breakthrough hundred, and discussed how their respective heights gives them advantages.

"He talked a lot about it in the changerooms … just being light on his feet," Renshaw explained.

"You could see the difference from his first innings to the second innings, how light on his feet and how easy it was for him to move out to the ball and then (get) back as far back as possible.

"You hear the greats talk about batting on the subcontinent and it's about trying to get to the ball and smother it, or get right back and play it as late as you can.

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"He's probably got the lighter-on-his-feet advantage, but I've got the reach advantage.

"I can reach quite far towards where the ball's pitching. He might run down at one whereas I can just defend.

"It's about working what's best for us but also working at it as a team and trying to be the best team we can be."

Renshaw meanwhile admitted the first Test had thrown up some new challenges for him, even after his encouraging returns on the four-Test tour of India earlier this year.

The Queenslander's series-tally of 232 runs was Australia's second-highest, behind the prolific Smith, who managed 499 runs with three tons.

While Australia expect much of what they encountered in Dhaka to be replicated from Monday in Chittagong, Renshaw is confident the visitors are well-equipped to even the series ledger 1-1.

"It was really tough out there," Renshaw said of the first Test. "It was just a lot of challenges that we've faced before and some that are a bit different.

"We've just got to try and replicate what we can in the nets.

"Generally the pitch in Dhaka wasn't really turning as much as the Indian pitches. Some were turning, which made it quite difficult to work out which one was turning and which one was not.

"You've just got to try and play for the one that doesn't miss you on the inside and if it spins past you, it spins past you.

"It's pretty disappointing to lose any Test match whether it be at home or away from home but I think the mood's pretty good.

"We know what we've done wrong in the first Test so we're just looking forward to righting those wrongs in the second Test and hopefully win (the second Test) and tie the series."


Australia in Bangladesh 2017

Australia squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Ashton Agar, Jackson Bird, Hilton Cartwright, Pat Cummins, Peter Handscomb, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Glenn Maxwell, Steve O'Keefe, Matthew Renshaw, Mitchell Swepson, Matthew Wade.

Bangladesh squad: Mushfiqur Rahim (c), Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Imrul Kayes, Shakib Al Hasan, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Sabbir Rahman, Nasir Hossain, Liton Das, Taskin Ahmed, Shafiul Islam, Mustafizur Rahman, Taijul Islam, Mominul Haque.


27-31 August First Test, Dhaka, Bangladesh won by 20 runs


4-8 September Second Test, Chittagong