Australia A v England Lions, Hobart February 16, 2013

Marsh knee injury sours Australia A victory


Australia A 3 for 260 (Marsh 100 retired hurt, Finch 80) beat England Lions 6 for 259 (Chopra 105, Foakes 56, Hastings 3-56) by 7 wickets

Shaun Marsh's unfortunate history of forfeiting rich veins of form due to injury gained a new chapter as his century to deliver victory for Australia A in their opening match against the England Lions was marred by what appeared a serious bout of knee trouble at Bellerive Oval.

Turning for the run that would have taken him to three figures, Marsh fell in a heap and was barely mobile enough to score the one run he needed for the century. On several occasions in the past Marsh has been afflicted by hamstring problems when playing well, and in 2011 his confident first steps as a Test batsman were derailed by a back complaint.

Scans later revealed that this was yet another hamstring injury, one serious enough to put him out of the remainder of the series; he had ruptured a hamstring tendon behind his right knee, and would need to consult with an orthopaedic surgeon to determine the course of treatment.*

This was a major sour point on what was otherwise a strong evening for Australia A, who ensured the England Lions remained winless so far on this tour. Aaron Finch added 171 with Marsh, while John Hastings, Ben Cutting and Kane Richardson had their moments with the ball.

Varun Chopra and Ben Foakes contributed innings of substance for the visitors, but until the brief tremor caused by Marsh's knee complaint their bowlers never looked likely to disrupt the hosts' chase.

Marsh and Finch had played haltingly in their recent international forays but had few problems getting established in the lower key environment of Australia A. Finch crashed the last ball of the first over to the cover fence, and in the second coshed a free-hit well over the midwicket fence when Chris Wright overstepped.

For a time it seemed Marsh and Finch's greatest dangers were to be posed by each other, Finch doubled over when one stinging drive from Marsh struck the non-striker. They were not to be separated until the tally reached 171, Finch pouched at long off trying for another six.

Alex Doolan, included when Callum Ferguson failed to recover from a groin strain, provided Marsh with sound support. A most comfortable win beckoned until Marsh clutched his right leg in obvious pain after turning for a second run when on 99. He gathered himself sufficiently to score the remaining run he needed for a century, but then hobbled off.

The episode seemed to unsettle the hosts, who soon lost Doolan and Ben Rohrer in quick succession, leaving Joe Burns and Tim Paine to settle and seal the chase with five balls to spare.

The Lions had enjoyed considerable good fortune in the first over of the match when Paine grassed a straightforward chance behind the stumps offered by Chopra from Richardson. Chopra took advantage of the dropped catch by assembling a sturdy innings, showing particular strength through cover and point.

The tally reached 53 before the first wicket, James Vince playing around a slower ball from Hastings. The captain James Taylor accompanied Chopra for a stand of 74 before picking out deep midwicket when he tried to lift the scoring rate.

Foakes met with greater success, scoring busily to ease the scoring load on Chopra, who reached his century before picking out long on. Hastings and Cutting nipped out three more wickets in the closing exchanges, and only one boundary was struck in the final five overs of the innings as Australia A kept their target well within reach.

*05.45GMT, February 17, 2013: This report was updated after the results of Shaun Marsh's scans came out

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Meety on February 18, 2013, 6:43 GMT

    @ Jayzuz on (February 17, 2013, 9:14 GMT) - judging by their Generation Next's results on tour so far (0/5), they won't be level with us for too much longer.

  • Meety on February 18, 2013, 1:17 GMT

    @ Milhouse79 on (February 17, 2013, 5:34 GMT) - Oz only lost matches that McGrath was unable to play, otherwise the "Nil" part of his prediction was spot on. @hris on (February 17, 2013, 7:30 GMT) - it is unfortunate that Marsh keeps getting injured - often when starting to establish himself, but I think the injuries are only a small part of his mediocre FC record. Could go on but I really don't want to bag him on a thread where he hit a ton!

  • RandyOZ on February 17, 2013, 20:30 GMT

    Another crushing defeat for England. All of the tour parties and U19 teams are consistently getting slaughtered.

  • Jayzuz on February 17, 2013, 9:14 GMT

    Hate to break this to ya, @Millhouse79, but England are equal with AUS in ODIs (116 pts), and ENG are but one point ahead in tests (118-117). AUS also outperformed ENG at the T20 WC by a considerable distance. You can have the T20 rankings, for what they are worth. In fact of the 18 internationals between AUS and ENG since the 1st test in Brisbane, ENG have won 9, AUS 8. ENG got flogged by SA 2-0, AUS were very unlucky to lose 1-0 after their early series domination of the proteas. I think its just time to admit that the two teams are evenly matched, and that Vaughn and co are delusional. All this pre-series celebration looks awfully like hubris, given the realities of the last 2 years. I rest my case.

  • zenboomerang on February 17, 2013, 8:26 GMT

    My Aust A ODI team would include Hartley ave@63 this season (Paine ave@21)... Paine has played very little cricket for the last 2 years & unsure why he gets preferential treatment when his return from injury hasn't been anywhere near as good as Hartleys form... You could throw Haddin & Nevill into the mix as well...

    Finch, Hartley(K), Doolan, Burns, Hussey, Bailey (C), Cutting, Hastings, NC-N, Sandhu, Krejza...

  • hris on February 17, 2013, 7:55 GMT

    @Chris_P Take the example of Mike Hussey. Now hes a better player than Shaun Marsh. But he was averaging around 40 in shield cricket when he has played about 150 innings( first 7-8 years of his career). His average goes up to high 40s only because he plundered the poor English bowlers in those days. He average around 70 in county in the same period when he was averaging around 40 in shield.

    Then when was in his late 20s he started scoring big runs consistently and now averages over 50.

    Now i dont know the kind of injuries Hussey suffered in his early career. But i would doubt they were as frequent as Marsh.

    Having said all that. I dont consider Marsh as good as Hussey. But surely he would be average atleast around 45.

  • hris on February 17, 2013, 7:30 GMT

    @Chris_P i never said its the sole reason. And i never said he would average over 50. But his stats surely would be much better. Maybe average close to 45.

    And most players dont start of averaging 50 and keep it throughout their carrier. They tend to have a golden period after about 25 to 32 where they score heavily and bump up their averages. So if you suffer too many injuries in that period which Marsh clearly has, then your stats are gonna be lower. Just check his form and then subsequent injury history since he has been a Aus potential.

  • Chris_P on February 17, 2013, 7:09 GMT

    @hris. Mate, he has been playing fc cricket for 12 seasons. Surely you don't suggest injuries is the sole reason for his ordinary stats? Twelve seasons!

  • Camberwellcarrot1979 on February 17, 2013, 5:34 GMT

    pat_one_back...'England only won because of McGrath's injury'. What a predictable comment. I actually thought England played better cricket than you guys but hey! All teams get injuries mate...why be such a bad loser? Maybe Michael Vaughan, myself and many English fans are confident or perhaps over confident but are Aussies ever short of that? Whatever happens in Ind or against SL or SA is irrelevent. What really counts is the recent record between Eng + Aus (2 Ashes + ODI series), the home advantage (Aus have not won a series in Eng since '01), the fact we top you inl 3 formats and the fact you have poor batting (the most partisan Aussie must surely identify this weakness). If Aus play well and take the series then fair play. I for one won't make excuses. I suspect most of the Aussies on these pages will have them already prepared.The only way I see Aus making a mark on the series is if Anderson gets injured. A bit like 2005! Ha ha. You wouldn't accept that excuse though would you?

  • jonesy2 on February 17, 2013, 4:48 GMT

    no surprises, this australia a side is made up of world class international stars and would beat any other international ODI side. england have no talent or depth but we already knew that although it is nice to know that the ashes will be back in australian hands for the next probably 15-20 years.

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