Australians thrive with Mitchell Marsh fifty
India A 176 for 4 (Iyer 85*) trail Australians 469 for 7 dec (Smith 107, Shaun Marsh 104, Mitchell Marsh 75, Wade 64) by 293 runs
Mitchell Marsh followed in his brother Shaun's footsteps, with a fifty-plus score in the tour game against India A to perhaps bolster his chances of a Test recall. He spent over three hours at the crease in Mumbai, making 75 off 159 balls with 11 fours and a six to help the Australians declare on 469 for 7 on the second day.
Australia have been struggling for an allrounder to make the No. 6 spot their own and Marsh had himself enjoyed a considerably long run before he was dropped after the home series loss to South Africa late last year. He averages only 23.18 from 19 Tests so far and bowls seam up, which may go against him considering the conditions in India and the fact Australia already have Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood in their squad to swing the new ball and reverse the old.
However, with his 17th first-class half-century, Marsh has done his bit to stay in contention. His nearest competitor appears to be Glenn Maxwell, who has his own issues with regards to playing up to potential in Test cricket. He is not established as a batsman, but on his day can still be explosive and can also chip in with a few overs of part-time offspin.
"I've certainly batted more than ever over the past few weeks, just trying to get better and trying to learn as much as I can," Marsh said of the opportunity presented by the need to rest his bowling shoulder. "You never want to get injured but it was nice to get a couple of weeks off, I'm feeling really strong at the moment so hopefully the body can hold up.
"Probably the biggest thing for me has just been softening my hands, in my defence and also in my attack as well. The later you hit the ball, the easier it is to hit gaps especially in the subcontinent when it's turning. If you have a solid defence, you can attack the balls that are there to attack and really back your defence.
"That's something I've learnt, playing in the subcontinent a couple of times now through my own experiences. I think I've just faced a lot more spin over the time, and I've learned that rotating the strike is really important, especially in the subcontinent for getting off strike."
India A's batsmen too profited on a Brabourne stadium pitch that was quite true. Shreyas Iyer smashed 85 off 93 balls with five sixes and seven fours at No. 3. He was unbeaten at stumps, alongside Rishabh Pant, who was batting on 3.
For the Australians, Jackson Bird was highly economical with a spell of 11-7-15-2 while Nathan Lyon provided the first wicket of the innings, dismissing Akhil Herwadkar and later accounted for Priyank Panchal, the top-scorer in India's premier domestic first-class tournament, the Ranji Trophy, in 2016-17.