Australian coach Darren Lehmann has confirmed in-form Queensland opener Matt Renshaw won’t receive a call-up to travel to South Africa, believing the squad has enough cover.
The form of Renshaw’s replacement Cameron Bancroft has been indifferent, having only gone past 50 once in his past ten innings, while Mitch Marsh is battling groin soreness ahead of the Third Test.
Since the squad was named for South Africa, Renshaw has scores of 56, 170, 112 and 143 at Sheffield Shield level, with his last Test appearance coming against Bangladesh last September.
“At the end of the day we’ve got Peter Handscomb who averages 45 in Test cricket, so that’s always a tough call,” Lehmann told SEN’s Gerard Whateley and Simon Katich.
“Matt, when we selected the side hadn’t made a Shield run, and that’s the tough situation we’re in sometimes.
“It’s great to see him making runs and knocking the door down, but at the moment we’ve got our batters here.”
Lehmann admitted the tourists batting needed to improve, following two tests without a centurion.
“We’ve got a bit of improvement to do, no-ones made a hundred yet and we haven’t had a century stand either,” he said.
“That was the difference in this game – AB (de Villiers) was unbelievable. He showed his class and (Kagiso) Rabada was spectacular.”
“Our batters have got to adapt to the conditions better. They’re getting starts and then getting out, so that’s the key, you’ve got to have hundreds in Test match cricket to really drive the game.”
He is confident the rest of the batting order can stand up, even if star batsmen Steve Smith and David Warner don’t make big scores.
“I think we saw during the summer that there’s some quality batsmen there and they played really well. We had some great hundreds from Shaun Marsh, all the blokes made hundreds,” Lehmann said.
“Usman Khawaja’s done really well for us in previous games. When he gets in, he normally goes big.
“It’s a concern, yes, because in two Test matches we haven’t made a hundred. Whether it’s Warner or Smith, it’s irrelevant. It’s really anyone in that top six.”
The series is tied at 1-1, with the Third Test to take place from March 22 in Cape Town, and you will be able to hear all the ball-by-ball coverage on SEN.
To listen to Darren Lehmann's interview listen in the player below: