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Murray Wenzel

Renshaw repeats with second tour century in NZ

Matthew Renshaw has bolstered his Ashes hopes with 140 for Australia A against New Zealand A. (Dean Lewins/AAP PHOTOS) (AAP)

Matthew Renshaw has piled on another century in New Zealand to keep up in the hotly contested race for an Ashes berth.

The Australia A opener scored 140 against New Zealand A in Lincoln on Monday's third day as the visitors reached 5-297 in their second innings before bad light stopped play.

First innings century-maker Aaron Hardie (33) was run out, while Tim Ward made 63 in a 136-run stand with left-hander Renshaw.

Tasmanian Ward also passed 50 in both innings of the first game and has relished his time in the middle with the Queensland opener.

"Love it; the three times we've batted together we've had partnerships over a hundred," he said.

"I really like batting with him. He keeps it really simple and is a cool head out there."

Ward admitted his call-up was a surprise after a lean run to finish the Sheffield Shield season.

"But I'm happy my hard work has got me to here and selectors have shown a bit of faith," he said.

"I've developed a bit of clarity around my game; where I wanted to score, defend and leave."

Late call-up Jordan Buckingham (6-58) was the destroyer on Sunday as the hosts were bowled out for 246, with Renshaw taking 2-32.

Australia A leads by 304 ahead of Tuesday's final day of the two-game series. The hosts won from a similar position in the series opener.

Renshaw missed out in the first innings of this match but has otherwise dominated, scoring 112 and then 78 off just 72 in the first game of a tour designed to replicate the conditions Australia will encounter during the Ashes in England in June and July.

And Renshaw has needed every run, as contenders queue up to replace David Warner at the top of the order should he retire or not be selected to face England.

Marcus Harris, awarded an Australian central contract ahead of Renshaw, has began his County Championship campaign with a century and half century for Gloucestershire.

In-form West Australian Cameron Bancroft scored 44 in his first knock for Somerset.

Renshaw was recalled to Australia's Test squad in the recent tour of India to bat in the middle order, but did himself no favours with scores of 0, 2 and 2.

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