Matthew Renshaw’s second century in as many matches has enhanced his claims for a berth in Australia’s Ashes squad with the English Dukes ball providing little concern for the Queenslander.
Renshaw struck 140 off 261 balls in Australia A’s second innings against New Zealand A in Lincoln, following his 112 and 78 in the first fixture last week.
The left-hander’s innings included 12 fours and a six, eventually falling after edging an expansive drive to a floating slip.
It’s Renshaw’s 19th first-class century, and sixth in the last 12 months, and despite a forgettable tour of India, where he scored 0, 2 and 2 in the first two Tests, his flurry of runs across the ditch keeps him in the frame for a ticket to the UK.
In what has been a familiar theme this series, rain and bad light brought an early end to day three, with still more than 20 overs scheduled, but Australia A had climbed to 5-297, an overall lead of 304 runs.
Campbell Kellaway (31) and captain Aaron Hardie (33) both got starts but Tasmanian Tim Ward was the other Aussie batter to raise the bat as he shared a 146-run partnership with Renshaw.
Ward, who opens for Tasmania in the Marsh Sheffield Shield, scored 63 at number five to follow up his 75 and 67 not out at number three in the first match last week.
The 25-year-old admits his Shield season wasn’t as prolific as he had hoped (517 runs at 30.41) but has benefited in this series from a clear mindset and the belief of the selectors.
“I had a bit of clarity on where I wanted to score, defend and leave,” Ward said after play on day three.
“And I did that over this tour.
“I had a pretty lean run through the back half of the Shield year, so it was a bit of a surprise (to be named in the squad).
“I was ecstatic and I was really happy that my hard work has got me to here, and thankful for the selectors, who have shown a bit of faith in me.”
Renshaw and Ward have been the two dominant batters of the series, as the only two players with over 200 runs.
And the unlikely duo have done their best work when in the middle together.
“I love it (batting with Renshaw),” Ward said.
“The three times we’ve batted together we’ve had partnerships over 100 (runs) each time.
“Really like batting with him, he’s a cool head out there and keeps it really simple and it’s a lot of fun.”
Dutch international Logan van Beek was the best for the Kiwis, grabbing 2-47.
Play will start at 9am local time (7am AEST) on Tuesday with 98 overs scheduled.
New Zealand A v Australia A series
First four-day match: New Zealand A won by three wickets
Second four-day match: April 8-11, Bert Sutcliffe Oval, Lincoln
Both matches will be live streamed on nzc.nz.
Australia A squad: Wes Agar, Xavier Bartlett, Jordan Buckingham, Aaron Hardie, Caleb Jewell, Spencer Johnson, Campbell Kellaway, Nathan McSweeney, Mitch Perry, Jimmy Pierson, Matthew Renshaw, Mitchell Swepson, Tim Ward, Teague Wyllie
New Zealand A squad: Tom Bruce (c), Adi Ashok, Doug Bracewell, Henry Cooper, Jacob Duffy (Game 1 only), Dean Foxcroft, Cam Fletcher, Mitch Hay, Scott Kuggeleijn, Cole McConchie, Robbie O’Donnell, Will O’Rourke, Ajaz Patel, Brett Randell, Sean Solia