South Africa v Australia, 1st Test, Cape Town, 2nd day November 10, 2011

Marsh in doubt for second Test

27

Michael Clarke has conceded that Shaun Marsh is in doubt for the second Test in Johannesburg after he struggled with a stiff back on the first two days in Cape Town. Marsh did not field on the second day and batted at No.10, clearly hampered as he walked to the crease and faced his only two deliveries, including a delivery that kept low and trapped him lbw.

The problem arose on Wednesday during the latter stages of Marsh's first-innings 44, and the issue worsened on Thursday. The Wanderers Test starts in a week and Clarke, as a man who has suffered serious back problems himself over the years, said the most important thing was to ensure Marsh was not forced to play if he was not quite right.

"I'm a little nervous, no doubt," Clarke said after play on Thursday. "I know the feeling when you do your back, it's always a couple of days of mending time and treatment to try and get it right. I'm confident if he does get it right in this period before the second Test then he'll be fine to play.

"But I need to trust the judgment of Alex Kountouris, our physio, who has had a lot of experience on backs, unfortunately. Shaun knows his body pretty well. He's a big player for us, he's in all three forms of the game. He's a wonderful guy with a lot of talent, so I want to make sure we make the right decision."

Should Marsh be unavailable for the Johannesburg Test, it would mean a call-up for Usman Khawaja, the back-up batsman in the squad. While Khawaja is a fine prospect, Marsh has been one of the shining lights for Australia during their past three Tests.

He scored a century on debut in Pallekele in September and made 81 in his second Test, before starting his South African trip with a pair of half-centuries in the tour match in Potchefstroom last week. In the first innings in Cape Town, he was the only one of Australia's specialist batsmen who showed the centurion Clarke any support.

Marsh has had ongoing back issues throughout his career. He was ruled out of the third ODI against Sri Lanka last November and the Australia A game against England that followed due to back trouble, and a similar problem also ruled him out of the tour of New Zealand early last year.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Meety on November 13, 2011, 1:11 GMT

    Marsh is an injury concern - he must be replaced by Khawaja.

  • s.sreekant on November 12, 2011, 7:30 GMT

    its no use having this guy in the team if he gets injured so regularly as it will disturb the team structure and balance if we keep changing the team for every test in a series

  • crickprof on November 11, 2011, 20:31 GMT

    Usman Khawja is much better player than marsh, usman khawja scored 37 against England when whole Australian batting got failed, if the CA has made debuet of Marsh against England he would never had scored a century, to score a century against SL is much much easier than to score runs against England...........

  • bindu on November 11, 2011, 10:31 GMT

    the fitness levels also speak about the character of a person.......... Sachin playing since last 22 yrs and still going on speaks he is not bad cricketer when compared to the current lot of players..... 3 tests and a guy is down with injury and he is the one for a permanent role at no.3 position....... crazyyyyy

  • satish619chandar on November 11, 2011, 6:56 GMT

    Marsh and Hussey were the only ones in form from SL tour consistently.. Good thing for Aussies is they got Khawaja as readymade replacement for that slot.. Bad thing is, he is the only reserve batter available!! They have 2 weaklinks in batting now.. Hughes n Punter(Sorry to say).. They would wish atleast one of them to come good next match..

  • RandyOZ on November 11, 2011, 6:02 GMT

    @Vic Nicholas, well said, add to the fact we were against the best attack in the world and they were against one of the worst. If Brad haddin doesn't not get dropped ASAP I will not be watching this summer. How are Hilditch selections still being implemented?

  • landl47 on November 11, 2011, 5:39 GMT

    The problem is for Aus that Marsh was one of the few batsmen in form. Watson has 94 in 7 innings in the SL/SA tests, SA have got Hughes worked out just as England did and Ponting is a walking wicket- 12 innings since his last test 50. Haddin is looking dreadful, Johnson is hit and miss (mostly miss) and the tail is the tail. Marsh, Clarke and Hussey have been the guys making runs and when they fail, Aus is up against it. The reserves are Khawaja, with 3 tests and a highest score of 37, and Warner, who hasn't played a test and only 10 first-class games. I see the call-ups being suggested are Katich, age 36, and Jaques, age 32 and out of the test side for 3 years. Aus really has a lack of depth and it's showing. @Vic Nicholas: You're right, but since that collapse almost 3 years ago England hasn't lost a series and their record is W18, D9, L4. This is the third time in just over a year Aus has been bowled out for under 100, so their problem goes much deeper than England's.

  • featurewriter on November 11, 2011, 5:28 GMT

    I think Warner has proven that he is an incredible talent. I think it would be dangerous for Australian cricket to leave him sitting on the sidelines while he's in game-changing form. I think our current lineup should look like this: Warner, Marsh, Clarke, Hussey, Watson, Butterworth, Paine, Johnson, Harris, Cummins, Hauritz. Warner gives us a hint of Hayden and Sehwag; Marsh provides the gritty Langer-like balance; Clarke deserves to be batting at first-drop; Hussey is a great middle-order anchor; Watson needs more freedom in his batting, and his bowling is brilliant at the moment; Butterworth is a more than capable lower order bat and an outstanding seamer; Paine is a better gloveman and a better bat than Haddin at the moment (though his mate Wade is lurking in the shadows); I'd have Johnson in my starting 11 every time; Harris is an Andy Bichel-type loyal grunt who gets results; Cummins is a terror on the turf; and Hauritz is the best off-spinner at Test level in this country.

  • sudhar.n87 on November 11, 2011, 3:38 GMT

    Besides Clarke, Marsh was the only top order batsman to show some sort of application to the innings. Hope he gets fit on time for the second test. Get well soon Marsh.

  • Skott on November 11, 2011, 3:30 GMT

    jaques was in before Katich but got injured and spent about a year trying to get back to his best. Too late ofr him now. And Rogers. We have to stick with Hughes for a while at least-- give himn a chance to find his feet.

    And @cindian. You want to dump Clarke as captain? He's doing a good job so far. Who else would you suggest? Hussey? And then who gets the job in a year when Hussey finally retires?

  • Meety on November 13, 2011, 1:11 GMT

    Marsh is an injury concern - he must be replaced by Khawaja.

  • s.sreekant on November 12, 2011, 7:30 GMT

    its no use having this guy in the team if he gets injured so regularly as it will disturb the team structure and balance if we keep changing the team for every test in a series

  • crickprof on November 11, 2011, 20:31 GMT

    Usman Khawja is much better player than marsh, usman khawja scored 37 against England when whole Australian batting got failed, if the CA has made debuet of Marsh against England he would never had scored a century, to score a century against SL is much much easier than to score runs against England...........

  • bindu on November 11, 2011, 10:31 GMT

    the fitness levels also speak about the character of a person.......... Sachin playing since last 22 yrs and still going on speaks he is not bad cricketer when compared to the current lot of players..... 3 tests and a guy is down with injury and he is the one for a permanent role at no.3 position....... crazyyyyy

  • satish619chandar on November 11, 2011, 6:56 GMT

    Marsh and Hussey were the only ones in form from SL tour consistently.. Good thing for Aussies is they got Khawaja as readymade replacement for that slot.. Bad thing is, he is the only reserve batter available!! They have 2 weaklinks in batting now.. Hughes n Punter(Sorry to say).. They would wish atleast one of them to come good next match..

  • RandyOZ on November 11, 2011, 6:02 GMT

    @Vic Nicholas, well said, add to the fact we were against the best attack in the world and they were against one of the worst. If Brad haddin doesn't not get dropped ASAP I will not be watching this summer. How are Hilditch selections still being implemented?

  • landl47 on November 11, 2011, 5:39 GMT

    The problem is for Aus that Marsh was one of the few batsmen in form. Watson has 94 in 7 innings in the SL/SA tests, SA have got Hughes worked out just as England did and Ponting is a walking wicket- 12 innings since his last test 50. Haddin is looking dreadful, Johnson is hit and miss (mostly miss) and the tail is the tail. Marsh, Clarke and Hussey have been the guys making runs and when they fail, Aus is up against it. The reserves are Khawaja, with 3 tests and a highest score of 37, and Warner, who hasn't played a test and only 10 first-class games. I see the call-ups being suggested are Katich, age 36, and Jaques, age 32 and out of the test side for 3 years. Aus really has a lack of depth and it's showing. @Vic Nicholas: You're right, but since that collapse almost 3 years ago England hasn't lost a series and their record is W18, D9, L4. This is the third time in just over a year Aus has been bowled out for under 100, so their problem goes much deeper than England's.

  • featurewriter on November 11, 2011, 5:28 GMT

    I think Warner has proven that he is an incredible talent. I think it would be dangerous for Australian cricket to leave him sitting on the sidelines while he's in game-changing form. I think our current lineup should look like this: Warner, Marsh, Clarke, Hussey, Watson, Butterworth, Paine, Johnson, Harris, Cummins, Hauritz. Warner gives us a hint of Hayden and Sehwag; Marsh provides the gritty Langer-like balance; Clarke deserves to be batting at first-drop; Hussey is a great middle-order anchor; Watson needs more freedom in his batting, and his bowling is brilliant at the moment; Butterworth is a more than capable lower order bat and an outstanding seamer; Paine is a better gloveman and a better bat than Haddin at the moment (though his mate Wade is lurking in the shadows); I'd have Johnson in my starting 11 every time; Harris is an Andy Bichel-type loyal grunt who gets results; Cummins is a terror on the turf; and Hauritz is the best off-spinner at Test level in this country.

  • sudhar.n87 on November 11, 2011, 3:38 GMT

    Besides Clarke, Marsh was the only top order batsman to show some sort of application to the innings. Hope he gets fit on time for the second test. Get well soon Marsh.

  • Skott on November 11, 2011, 3:30 GMT

    jaques was in before Katich but got injured and spent about a year trying to get back to his best. Too late ofr him now. And Rogers. We have to stick with Hughes for a while at least-- give himn a chance to find his feet.

    And @cindian. You want to dump Clarke as captain? He's doing a good job so far. Who else would you suggest? Hussey? And then who gets the job in a year when Hussey finally retires?

  • Dismayed on November 11, 2011, 2:51 GMT

    Suerly he has to go back and prove over a full shield season his fitness this has been ongong for several years.Warner is ready for all forms,Watson drops down the order,Ponting must go,Haddin must go.

  • on November 11, 2011, 2:32 GMT

    It's funny how the Pommy supporters forget about this current England teams similar collapses in the West Indies in 2009. All out for 47 is pathetic no doubt. Is all out for 50 really any better? Most of your batsmen in that collapse are still around. As bad as today was, it happens. Having said that Paine must come in for Haddin and Ponting and Hughes do not inspire any confidence.

  • Dashgar on November 11, 2011, 0:59 GMT

    We need some stability in this team right now. Maybe Michael Klinger, Ed Cowan or Ryan Broad would be a good inclusion. Rather than going for youngsters like Hughes, Khawaja and Warner for such an important role.

  • on November 11, 2011, 0:03 GMT

    If you want to talk about Aussie openers Phil Jacques is easily the best and should've come in when Langer called time ahead of Katich, never mind ahead of Hughes when Hayden called it a day.

  • on November 10, 2011, 21:52 GMT

    Dave Warner and Khawaja i would open with. Watto its time to move to 6. I think Cummins comes in for Johnson and i would bring in copeland for siddle.

  • on November 10, 2011, 21:44 GMT

    Usman, once assured of a place in the Team, he will excel beyond the expectations. He is technically a better player than most of the top order except perhaps for Hussey and Ponting.

  • Winsome on November 10, 2011, 21:30 GMT

    Next pitch will not be as difficult as this one and Hughes is perfectly capable of racking up runs on a flat pitch, however uncertain he is on a tough pitch. He'll still be opening come the next series I'm sure.

  • AusieBangaleeShameem on November 10, 2011, 21:04 GMT

    No matter what's going on now -- Aussie will win at the end -- Insha-Allah. However, Katich is being missed -- he must be brought into action.

  • on November 10, 2011, 18:58 GMT

    Losing Marsh is a big blow, and in a situation where having his solidity at three is crucial to shore up the weaknesses that are Hughes and Ponting, if he can't play the second test then the Aussies had better hope that Usman Khawaja is up to the task

  • praveen4honestremark on November 10, 2011, 17:54 GMT

    No batsman has shown technique in Australian line up in second innings of their batting. All were going after balls blindly. Not many balls are left alone, and when it is only second day why can't those batsman leave some deliveries to keeper. Really a bad cricket from Australia.

  • cindian on November 10, 2011, 17:39 GMT

    Australian are starting to look like WI and other teams that does not have a proper opening batsman. England are the best, followed by SA, then probally India(??? half of an opening batsman goes to Gambir when he decide to bat)---it is the reason why England is #1, why WI can not win despite decent bowling---For Australians, they have Waston and Hughes( terrible opening pair) --this should tell you on any pacy ( fast wicket) wicket , the Australians will be sliding fast--they sent their only top opening batsman Simon Katich into exile---Bring Katich back to open---and Australia fortune might change( need to change Clarke from captaincy--send Ponting into retirement and Watson need to bat #5.

  • on November 10, 2011, 17:33 GMT

    where is Chris Rogers? why Australians Dosnt trust him and give him a chance..he is the best opening batsmen in the Australiia...so bad..

  • bumsonseats on November 10, 2011, 17:04 GMT

    for a young guy this must be worrying. i was 1 that thought he should be in the side, but for this to happen during a test match the consequences can be drastic. iv not heard if it happened previous if so then he does have problems. dpk

  • Mary_786 on November 10, 2011, 15:23 GMT

    Hughes batted terribly again, he does not protect our number 3 and 4 players. Time to bring Khawaja in so we have a solid batsman at the top.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on November 10, 2011, 14:58 GMT

    This match is hilarious to watch, reminds me of the last Ashes, with Jimmy Anderson and co sending an endless stream of Australians back into the pavilion...Good times.... :)

  • mandz on November 10, 2011, 13:20 GMT

    typical, it looks like philip hughes will get another chance. this guy has had a terrible run. minus 1 ton and he's probably averaged not more than 25 in two years. i think it's time that we brought someone in who is actually scoring runs and is proven (unlike hughes who received a baggy green on 'potential') plus, he's got a weakness and everyone knows it. it's like my boss saying you're getting a raise even though you keep stuffing up! i wish!!!!

  • Buggsy on November 10, 2011, 12:14 GMT

    Arggh, this is frustrating. Our two new stars who are actually performing are the most injury prone (Harris being the other). Oh well, Watto battled through his dark days of injury, Marsh will do the same.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • Buggsy on November 10, 2011, 12:14 GMT

    Arggh, this is frustrating. Our two new stars who are actually performing are the most injury prone (Harris being the other). Oh well, Watto battled through his dark days of injury, Marsh will do the same.

  • mandz on November 10, 2011, 13:20 GMT

    typical, it looks like philip hughes will get another chance. this guy has had a terrible run. minus 1 ton and he's probably averaged not more than 25 in two years. i think it's time that we brought someone in who is actually scoring runs and is proven (unlike hughes who received a baggy green on 'potential') plus, he's got a weakness and everyone knows it. it's like my boss saying you're getting a raise even though you keep stuffing up! i wish!!!!

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on November 10, 2011, 14:58 GMT

    This match is hilarious to watch, reminds me of the last Ashes, with Jimmy Anderson and co sending an endless stream of Australians back into the pavilion...Good times.... :)

  • Mary_786 on November 10, 2011, 15:23 GMT

    Hughes batted terribly again, he does not protect our number 3 and 4 players. Time to bring Khawaja in so we have a solid batsman at the top.

  • bumsonseats on November 10, 2011, 17:04 GMT

    for a young guy this must be worrying. i was 1 that thought he should be in the side, but for this to happen during a test match the consequences can be drastic. iv not heard if it happened previous if so then he does have problems. dpk

  • on November 10, 2011, 17:33 GMT

    where is Chris Rogers? why Australians Dosnt trust him and give him a chance..he is the best opening batsmen in the Australiia...so bad..

  • cindian on November 10, 2011, 17:39 GMT

    Australian are starting to look like WI and other teams that does not have a proper opening batsman. England are the best, followed by SA, then probally India(??? half of an opening batsman goes to Gambir when he decide to bat)---it is the reason why England is #1, why WI can not win despite decent bowling---For Australians, they have Waston and Hughes( terrible opening pair) --this should tell you on any pacy ( fast wicket) wicket , the Australians will be sliding fast--they sent their only top opening batsman Simon Katich into exile---Bring Katich back to open---and Australia fortune might change( need to change Clarke from captaincy--send Ponting into retirement and Watson need to bat #5.

  • praveen4honestremark on November 10, 2011, 17:54 GMT

    No batsman has shown technique in Australian line up in second innings of their batting. All were going after balls blindly. Not many balls are left alone, and when it is only second day why can't those batsman leave some deliveries to keeper. Really a bad cricket from Australia.

  • on November 10, 2011, 18:58 GMT

    Losing Marsh is a big blow, and in a situation where having his solidity at three is crucial to shore up the weaknesses that are Hughes and Ponting, if he can't play the second test then the Aussies had better hope that Usman Khawaja is up to the task

  • AusieBangaleeShameem on November 10, 2011, 21:04 GMT

    No matter what's going on now -- Aussie will win at the end -- Insha-Allah. However, Katich is being missed -- he must be brought into action.