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If it wasn't quite "end some careers", Nathan Lyon made it patently clear that Matt Renshaw's runs for Queensland in a Test match dress rehearsal against the Australia and New South Wales bowling attack in Canberra from Saturday will be well and truly earned.
Alongside Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins, Lyon will turn out for a first Sheffield Shield appearance together since before last summer's home campaign, in which the quartet excelled to regain the Ashes from England at home before the disastrous and now infamous tour of South Africa.
In addition to working in concert with one another, the NSW attack will be determined to make Renshaw fight for every run in what is effectively his audition for a berth in the Test XI to face India in December. Left out of the team that faced Pakistan in the UAE due to a lack of match practice after suffering a concussion while fielding at short leg, Renshaw can emulate the performance of Cameron Bancroft against Starc, Hazlewood, Lyon and Cummins at Hurstville this time last year, which had a major bearing on his call-up.
"If Matt Renshaw comes out and plays well, against any opposition but particularly against this opposition, I daresay it's going to figure pretty heavily," Lyon said in Canberra. "But in saying that, we're not going to go easy on him, just because he's one of our mates and he's trying to get back into the Test side, we're not going to go easy on him.
Test technique hurt me in ODIs - Finch
Australia's T20 captain Aaron Finch believes that adjustments made to adapt to Test cricket have affected his ability to score freely so far in white-ball matches at home. Finch is preparing to face South Africa and India over four T20 matches while also being hopeful of retaining his Test spot, and believes that Australia's batsmen chased boundaries too eagerly in the ODI series.
"In the UAE my technique really tightened up. Those technique changes have probably hurt me a bit in the one-dayers - I am not quite as free," Finch said. "It's a more focused technique on keeping everything tight and straight and simple. It's a few changes that are simple but I feel they give me the best chance in the longer format.
"We have to understand we have a lot more time than we think. At times you can get caught up in seeing some results around the world and seeing 350 and 380 being scored pretty regularly, and you think you have to be a part of that. The reality is a bit different the way the game is played in Australia.
"With the grounds being so much bigger, they're not grounds where you can just stand and deliver, hit a couple of sixes an over and catch up and accelerate the run rate. So we need to use our smarts a little bit more and use a running game and a touch game."
"We haven't played a [Shield] game together since the last Ashes Test, so to be back all firing together is exciting. Hopefully we come out here and put in a really good performance, all four of us, and really get that combination and partnerships working again, it's going to be vital before the first Test match against India.
"It's great to be out here and the bowling attack is going to be pretty excited. Hopefully there will be something in it early with the new ball but if you're good enough you can score runs, and if you're good enough hopefully you can get a bit of bounce and a bit of spin out there as well."
The pitch at Manuka Oval has long been known as one of the more benign in Australia, highlighted by a high scoring, bore draw when the Shield final was last played there in 2014. However Lyon, himself a former curator in Canberra and Adelaide, said that there was hope the surface would be more lively this season ahead of an inaugural Test match against Sri Lanka in February.
"I just spoke to [curator Brad van Dam] about the wicket and he said it's going to hopefully be something similar to the Test wicket," Lyon said. "There's going to be a little bit more pace in the Test wicket he said, but it's a great place to play cricket here and to come and experience a four-day game before a big Test match here in February."
Alongside the more established names taking part in the encounter will be numerous younger talents, none more heralded than Jason Sangha and Jack Edwards. Lyon, who himself played only a handful of first-class matches for South Australia before being rushed into a Test debut in 2011, counselled against considering either of the duo as serious Test team contenders just yet.
"I think it's dangerous throwing young guys into a big Test series like this," Lyon said. "It's really important for them to still learn their craft and learn their trade here at Shield level. I'm very impressed with both Jack and Jason but let's see them score back to back hundreds and take a few wickets when the ball is in their hands.
"It's important we don't throw too many young guys into the international scene too early. I do think they would be able to handle it, but for the better of their career they would be better off if they learn their craft here first. It's pretty hard to learn your craft at the top of the tree, but in saying that I'm a big fan of Sangha and Jack. I'm all for them but I don't think they should be considered just yet."
Another match this round will be Victoria's meeting with Tasmania in Hobart, where the opener Marcus Harris will be hopeful of pushing his own claims for a Test berth. A monumental unbeaten 250 for Victoria against NSW pushed Harris to the forefront of many minds, having tallied 1,514 runs at 42.05 over the past two domestic seasons after leaving Western Australia for Victoria.
When he made the move, Harris was farewelled with some curious comments by the then Warriors coach Justin Langer, who referred to him as "mediocre with flashes of brilliance", while adding that "our system isn't for everyone". However, he has always maintained that his relationship with Langer remained strong, and said he had been in text message contact with the now Australia coach and selector in recent weeks.
"We get along really well. We stay in contact regularly and when he was coach of WA, I would always catch up with him when [Victoria] played against them," Harris said. "When you get a clip in the media on the way out, that can be the headline. But that's certainly not the case with our relationship, we get along really well.
"I think if anyone gets runs at the moment, their name is thrown up there straight away. I suppose if you put runs on the board, that's going to happen. It's hard to not see it. I don't read it all, you see bits and pieces on social media. Everyone's name is being thrown up there, so I try not to read into too much. It's a bit hard to avoid, but you just take it as it is."