Australia in Sri Lanka 2011 August 21, 2011

Marsh learning to read Mendis from the hand

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Where two weeks ago there was panic in Shaun Marsh's eyes, last night there was calm. Facing up to Ajantha Mendis, who had made him look highly foolish in the second Twenty20 international on the way to startling figures of 6 for16 in Pallekele, Marsh demonstrated the fruits of time in the nets, and the value of sharp concentration against a bowler ready to pounce on the merest lapse.

Upon wandering down the wicket to be stumped in that T20 match, Marsh completed a two-match sequence of 10 balls and four runs for two dismissals. He looked about as likely to flourish against spin as Andrew Hilditch had been to survive the release of the Argus review. While most observers had Marsh batting at No. 6 in the Test series that follows the limited-over matches, now there had to be some doubt.

He was subsequently left out of the team for the first three ODIs, and spent that time with the assistant coach Justin Langer, working on his technique and mental approach. Returning to the international crease in Colombo, with Australia chasing a meagre target, Marsh faced Mendis again, this time armed with the new ball. An innings of 70 played a large part in getting Australia home, and helped Marsh keep himself notionally ahead of Usman Khawaja in the queue for the Australian Test batting order.

As the Australia players enjoyed some rest ahead of the final ODI, on August 22, Marsh said he was far calmer in Colombo than he had ever managed to be in Pallekele.

"I knew if I could just get through those first few overs I'd feel comfortable," Marsh said. "I've faced all the spinners over on the subcontinent before and done well. I knew if I could just get a bit of confidence in the first few overs I'd play my normal game and back my ability, and it was great to get out there and build some confidence.

"It was disappointing in the T20s, [and not selecting me] was the way they went in the first one-day game, but it gave me an opportunity to work really hard against the spinners, and I've enjoyed working with Justin Langer. Going into the game last night I felt confident with the work I've done over the last couple of weeks."

Mendis was not entirely unfamiliar to Marsh, given a few previous jousts in the Indian Premier League, but it clearly took some time for him to summon the application required. It is a common problem among batsmen fed a diet of flat pitches and orthodox bowlers that the skill of watching the hand and the ball can be mislaid.

"That was the main thing, especially after the T20 game where I got stumped. I knew I had to focus on the hand. It is sometimes quite tough, especially early on, but you have to make sure you focus hard and it was good to get through that last night.

"He's a fantastic bowler and he's quite hard to pick, especially with the new ball when you can't really pick the seam, but it was good to get out there and face him and gain a little bit of confidence. They're very challenging bowlers over here on their home soil, so I'll be looking forward to that challenge again tomorrow."

The innings' restorative effect on Marsh has been mirrored on a wider level by Australia's 3-1 series win over the hosts. Led with some panache by the new captain Michael Clarke, Australia have given reason for hope ahead of the Tests, even if the release of the Argus review in Melbourne on Friday reminded all that there are a surfeit of shortcomings to be addressed.

"It's great for the group, it gives us a lot of confidence," Marsh said of the series win. "We knew it was tough coming over here, leading into this series and the T20 stuff up in Brisbane.

"After the two T20 games we really emphasised we wanted to play good, attacking cricket. We've come out and done that; we've been fantastically led by the bowlers and the batters have done their job as well. We've got one one-day game left and we want to win the series 4-1, but we know it's going to be a really tough Test series and we're looking forward to that challenge."

The team's visage on tour was changed by events in Melbourne, not least because of the direct effect the Argus report had on the roles and futures of the coach Tim Nielsen, the selector on duty Greg Chappell and the captain Clarke, who alongside Nielsen now has formal selection responsibilities. Marsh though re-affirmed that the team's sights were set firmly on results and success.

"That's what it's all about. We're just focusing on each game we play and we want to win that for Australia and win that for ourselves. We're just looking forward to that now and looking forward to playing some good cricket."

After besting Sri Lanka in the ODI series, Marsh and his team-mates can appreciate what that feels like.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • hyclass on August 22, 2011, 23:49 GMT

    @Winsome...my listing of Marshes nicks in this game,was a response to another rhetoric filled article.If the subject of the article wasnt so ironic,i may not have said anything.'Marsh learns to read Mendis from the Hand'.I felt it judicious to identify the weakness between his announcements and his subsequent results in the game.If,he could read Mendis from the hand and as he has pointed out,they have played against each other on many occassions in the IPL,then why did he edge to slip off Mendis,a simple chance,on 8?As the article continues,he regularly plays spin in IPL,why was he caught behind off a spinner? If he is to be an opener at test level,why did he edge unconrolled shots through slips,at catchable height twice?How is it that a batsman at this level is announcing that hes remebered to watch the ball from the hand?Do his comments and actions tally with the results?When his results announce him,instead of his mouth,then he will have my support.Until then,I will ask questions.

  • ajaygodbole on August 22, 2011, 10:06 GMT

    Marsh, is not doubt a quality player, but I don't think he is good at test level, may be he needs to play some first class games. I am not sure what happened to Phil Hughes, he is a guy similar to Sehwag, hey and where is Marcus North?

  • Winsome on August 22, 2011, 9:57 GMT

    Well I don't understand people getting hot under the collar about Hughes. He's a shoe in to open. It's not about Marsh v Hughes, if anything it's about Marsh v Khawaja. I don't think Khawaja is much cop against spin but I think Marsh's temperament is dubious. 50/50 who gets the job. Hyclass' listing of every nick Marsh made in an innings made me laugh, it sounds such an OCD way of judging a player. Watson has never made a test ton without being dropped along the way, I don't think that invalidates his tons as at least he has made 'em! I think Ferguson has about as much chance of Marsh as making regular tons at test leve (actually I think that about Watson as well only he's very consistent with his 50's)l. Both of them are far better short format players than long format so I can't see the point really in either of them getting a gig apart from short-term as a stopgap.

  • on August 22, 2011, 7:30 GMT

    Marsh is a solid player who has performed well in the last several years and has improved dramatically from when he was younger. the same could be said about mitchell marsh as well. he doesnt have a great 1st class record atm but he is young and i think could develop into australias best allrounder in a long time. i think we need to look at the player how he develops his game and not look totally at stats, i mean symo didnt have a good start to his 1st class career, infact i think by the time he played test cricket his average was yet to get to 40 but he grew his game and it developed over time and i think marsh has done this to where he should be considered for selection in all forms. Take out Khawaja's double ton in the first shield game last year and he hasnt made many runs since although i am a fan and rate him highly.

  • hyclass on August 22, 2011, 6:29 GMT

    Khawajas main difficulty is his sudden loss of form.His 09/10 domestic season was pretty good,with three centuries.Since the end of that season,hes played 17 games for 1055 runs at 41.25 with 2 centuries.That has dropped his average by 8 runs.Sometimes he walks across to cover the line and others,uses his hands.That inconsistency,coupled with him never getting far forward,has made him prone to edging.His style relies more than most,on picking the right line immediately,to keep the ball on the ground.I think North has similar issues with extra movements.When they are in sync,they are a great aid to covering the line early,but it doesnt take much to put them out.@Meety...I was looking through David Husseys record.He averages 46.5 in Australia and 64.5 in England,supporting some of your theory on him.He has 16 centuries in Aus,112 and 185 for Australia A in Pakistan,in 3 innings and 22 100s in England.He has a far better conversion rate of 50s to 100s there and a number of double hundreds

  • Meety on August 22, 2011, 5:24 GMT

    @Jeremy Cole - I'm a Ferguson fan & all I said was that Ferguson's career stats are worse than Marsh. I would rate Ferguson ahead of marsh, & on the subject of style - he is way better than most batsmen in Oz. If we're talking about a #6 spot, I think D Hussey & Ferguson are the two players to choose from. If it is a #3 spot I'd go Khawaja then Cosgrove, if its an opening spot (assuming either Watto or Hughes are failing) I'd go Katich then Marsh. On Khawaja its only 3 FC matches ago he hit a ton for Derbyshire in County cricket, (a few List A 50s as well) so I wouldn't his form is poor. @HatsforBats - I definately would go Cosgrove for a TEST spot sometime soon, he is a useful spinner as well - career bowling average BELOW Beer & Doherty! LOL! I think his size would prevent him playing ODIs & T20s.

  • hyclass on August 22, 2011, 5:16 GMT

    @Jeremy Cole,there's merit in what @Meety says.Whatever form,guys like Marsh and Ferguson have shown over recent seasons,the math says,its volume wasnt anywhere near enough to lift their career averages beyond mediocre.Thats despite Ferguson having only 3300 1st class runs and Marsh having only 3600 runs in total.Any significant volume of runs at a high average would have a big impact.For example,Ferguson would lift his average by one run if he scored 130 in one innings,Marsh would need 135 to do the same.Given that they have only 6 centuries each,in well over a hundred innings,its not unreasonable to ask where those runs will come from.Batting requires an attacking plan,a defensive plan,courage and the physical and mental stamina and focus to carry out those plans.Technique,is irrelevent to success.Very few great players have textbook techniques.Former Vic & NSW opener had the worst technique i ever saw,yet scored 6180 runs at an average of 41.75 with 15 centuries in 86 matches.

  • onlinegamer55 on August 22, 2011, 5:02 GMT

    I agree with most people here but to varying extents. Firstly, @hyclass is absolutely right about Phillip Hughes. Hughes is an outstanding cricket who will be regarded as highly as Ricky Ponting when he retires. Marsh is not a bad person; I think he is a good guy. However, his first class average of 37 does no justice to his case for inclusion in the test team. It is true that he has been more consistent in the past few years and I don't agree completely with hyclass that he should "NEVER be picked in the test team". Players can improve, hyclass. On the other hand, I would say that he is behind (or at least should be behind) quite a few batsmen in the queue for the test team. Phillip Hughes should get first crack at the opener's slot; a bit worried that Tim Nielson is the selector now because he may not give Hughes a game; let's hope Greg Chappell doesn't listen to him. Only thing good about Chappell is that he'll support Hughes. Anyway, Marsh's 70 was solid but not great.

  • Okakaboka on August 22, 2011, 3:55 GMT

    Nope...Those of you who think Khawaja should be the next cab off the rank are completely wrong. Having watched techniques closely it is clear Finch is a superior batsman. As a matter of fact, I would now rate him as probably the best batsman in Australia. He has the ability to play ALL formats and seems to adjust more easily....because of technique...than the other players. As for Haddin, when are we going to see the end of this pretend wicket keeper.....He is the worst of all the State keepers!!! Face reality! His batting has been crap lately as well...almost irresponsible the way he gets out. Time for Wade...or Paine. I'm inviting you to suggest a State keeper who is NOT as good as Haddin...Yep, it will be the world's shortest book.

  • on August 22, 2011, 3:45 GMT

    "and helped Marsh keep himself notionally ahead of Usman Khawaja in the queue for the Australian Test batting order." Get a grip on those thoughts, Khawaja is ahead of Marsh when it comes to a test spot, Marsh has more to prove in the longer format to be ahead of Khawaja as Khawaja has more to prove in the shorter format to be ahead of Marsh. Not much mind you as Marsh has played very well over the past two seasons avg well into the 50's but so has Khawaja who avg over 60 for the past 2 seasons and played more matches so that alone puts Khawaja ahead for a test spot. No more tit for tat selections the one who should get picked is the one who puts his hand up the highest in the format they are selecting for anything short of that keeps Australian Cricket from moving forward.

  • hyclass on August 22, 2011, 23:49 GMT

    @Winsome...my listing of Marshes nicks in this game,was a response to another rhetoric filled article.If the subject of the article wasnt so ironic,i may not have said anything.'Marsh learns to read Mendis from the Hand'.I felt it judicious to identify the weakness between his announcements and his subsequent results in the game.If,he could read Mendis from the hand and as he has pointed out,they have played against each other on many occassions in the IPL,then why did he edge to slip off Mendis,a simple chance,on 8?As the article continues,he regularly plays spin in IPL,why was he caught behind off a spinner? If he is to be an opener at test level,why did he edge unconrolled shots through slips,at catchable height twice?How is it that a batsman at this level is announcing that hes remebered to watch the ball from the hand?Do his comments and actions tally with the results?When his results announce him,instead of his mouth,then he will have my support.Until then,I will ask questions.

  • ajaygodbole on August 22, 2011, 10:06 GMT

    Marsh, is not doubt a quality player, but I don't think he is good at test level, may be he needs to play some first class games. I am not sure what happened to Phil Hughes, he is a guy similar to Sehwag, hey and where is Marcus North?

  • Winsome on August 22, 2011, 9:57 GMT

    Well I don't understand people getting hot under the collar about Hughes. He's a shoe in to open. It's not about Marsh v Hughes, if anything it's about Marsh v Khawaja. I don't think Khawaja is much cop against spin but I think Marsh's temperament is dubious. 50/50 who gets the job. Hyclass' listing of every nick Marsh made in an innings made me laugh, it sounds such an OCD way of judging a player. Watson has never made a test ton without being dropped along the way, I don't think that invalidates his tons as at least he has made 'em! I think Ferguson has about as much chance of Marsh as making regular tons at test leve (actually I think that about Watson as well only he's very consistent with his 50's)l. Both of them are far better short format players than long format so I can't see the point really in either of them getting a gig apart from short-term as a stopgap.

  • on August 22, 2011, 7:30 GMT

    Marsh is a solid player who has performed well in the last several years and has improved dramatically from when he was younger. the same could be said about mitchell marsh as well. he doesnt have a great 1st class record atm but he is young and i think could develop into australias best allrounder in a long time. i think we need to look at the player how he develops his game and not look totally at stats, i mean symo didnt have a good start to his 1st class career, infact i think by the time he played test cricket his average was yet to get to 40 but he grew his game and it developed over time and i think marsh has done this to where he should be considered for selection in all forms. Take out Khawaja's double ton in the first shield game last year and he hasnt made many runs since although i am a fan and rate him highly.

  • hyclass on August 22, 2011, 6:29 GMT

    Khawajas main difficulty is his sudden loss of form.His 09/10 domestic season was pretty good,with three centuries.Since the end of that season,hes played 17 games for 1055 runs at 41.25 with 2 centuries.That has dropped his average by 8 runs.Sometimes he walks across to cover the line and others,uses his hands.That inconsistency,coupled with him never getting far forward,has made him prone to edging.His style relies more than most,on picking the right line immediately,to keep the ball on the ground.I think North has similar issues with extra movements.When they are in sync,they are a great aid to covering the line early,but it doesnt take much to put them out.@Meety...I was looking through David Husseys record.He averages 46.5 in Australia and 64.5 in England,supporting some of your theory on him.He has 16 centuries in Aus,112 and 185 for Australia A in Pakistan,in 3 innings and 22 100s in England.He has a far better conversion rate of 50s to 100s there and a number of double hundreds

  • Meety on August 22, 2011, 5:24 GMT

    @Jeremy Cole - I'm a Ferguson fan & all I said was that Ferguson's career stats are worse than Marsh. I would rate Ferguson ahead of marsh, & on the subject of style - he is way better than most batsmen in Oz. If we're talking about a #6 spot, I think D Hussey & Ferguson are the two players to choose from. If it is a #3 spot I'd go Khawaja then Cosgrove, if its an opening spot (assuming either Watto or Hughes are failing) I'd go Katich then Marsh. On Khawaja its only 3 FC matches ago he hit a ton for Derbyshire in County cricket, (a few List A 50s as well) so I wouldn't his form is poor. @HatsforBats - I definately would go Cosgrove for a TEST spot sometime soon, he is a useful spinner as well - career bowling average BELOW Beer & Doherty! LOL! I think his size would prevent him playing ODIs & T20s.

  • hyclass on August 22, 2011, 5:16 GMT

    @Jeremy Cole,there's merit in what @Meety says.Whatever form,guys like Marsh and Ferguson have shown over recent seasons,the math says,its volume wasnt anywhere near enough to lift their career averages beyond mediocre.Thats despite Ferguson having only 3300 1st class runs and Marsh having only 3600 runs in total.Any significant volume of runs at a high average would have a big impact.For example,Ferguson would lift his average by one run if he scored 130 in one innings,Marsh would need 135 to do the same.Given that they have only 6 centuries each,in well over a hundred innings,its not unreasonable to ask where those runs will come from.Batting requires an attacking plan,a defensive plan,courage and the physical and mental stamina and focus to carry out those plans.Technique,is irrelevent to success.Very few great players have textbook techniques.Former Vic & NSW opener had the worst technique i ever saw,yet scored 6180 runs at an average of 41.75 with 15 centuries in 86 matches.

  • onlinegamer55 on August 22, 2011, 5:02 GMT

    I agree with most people here but to varying extents. Firstly, @hyclass is absolutely right about Phillip Hughes. Hughes is an outstanding cricket who will be regarded as highly as Ricky Ponting when he retires. Marsh is not a bad person; I think he is a good guy. However, his first class average of 37 does no justice to his case for inclusion in the test team. It is true that he has been more consistent in the past few years and I don't agree completely with hyclass that he should "NEVER be picked in the test team". Players can improve, hyclass. On the other hand, I would say that he is behind (or at least should be behind) quite a few batsmen in the queue for the test team. Phillip Hughes should get first crack at the opener's slot; a bit worried that Tim Nielson is the selector now because he may not give Hughes a game; let's hope Greg Chappell doesn't listen to him. Only thing good about Chappell is that he'll support Hughes. Anyway, Marsh's 70 was solid but not great.

  • Okakaboka on August 22, 2011, 3:55 GMT

    Nope...Those of you who think Khawaja should be the next cab off the rank are completely wrong. Having watched techniques closely it is clear Finch is a superior batsman. As a matter of fact, I would now rate him as probably the best batsman in Australia. He has the ability to play ALL formats and seems to adjust more easily....because of technique...than the other players. As for Haddin, when are we going to see the end of this pretend wicket keeper.....He is the worst of all the State keepers!!! Face reality! His batting has been crap lately as well...almost irresponsible the way he gets out. Time for Wade...or Paine. I'm inviting you to suggest a State keeper who is NOT as good as Haddin...Yep, it will be the world's shortest book.

  • on August 22, 2011, 3:45 GMT

    "and helped Marsh keep himself notionally ahead of Usman Khawaja in the queue for the Australian Test batting order." Get a grip on those thoughts, Khawaja is ahead of Marsh when it comes to a test spot, Marsh has more to prove in the longer format to be ahead of Khawaja as Khawaja has more to prove in the shorter format to be ahead of Marsh. Not much mind you as Marsh has played very well over the past two seasons avg well into the 50's but so has Khawaja who avg over 60 for the past 2 seasons and played more matches so that alone puts Khawaja ahead for a test spot. No more tit for tat selections the one who should get picked is the one who puts his hand up the highest in the format they are selecting for anything short of that keeps Australian Cricket from moving forward.

  • on August 22, 2011, 3:35 GMT

    Marsh's record in first class cricket isn't great on the whole, but this is largely due to having several poor years while he was still young. In the last 4 years, despite long times out of the game due to a recurring hamstring injury, he's averaged over 50.

    It's funny that Meety mentioned Ferguson's poor first class record - because he's making the same error, looking at their overall average and not their record in more recent years. Ferguson has improved dramatically in the last couple of years - though his form has been masked by inj

    Khawaja is also a talent, but the reality is that you don't bring batsmen into the team when they're not scoring runs, and his form lately has been poor. He'll get his chance, and meantime he needs to the Shield and make runs.

    That's the ethos that made Australian cricket great, work hard, make runs and wait for your chance. Now we have people picked because they might end up decent, then dragged along despite minimal contributions.

  • hilditchmustgo on August 22, 2011, 2:27 GMT

    Marsh has looked good for a while now and so has Ferguson and Khawaja. I think its more competition for different roles. I'd have Marsh opening if Hughes continues to fail whilst i pencil in Khawaja/Fergy for when punter or Hussey retires. Although if the competition is only for the no.6 spot its only fair that Khawaja gets a good long run over the next year. Then when punter/hussey goes he can slot into no.3 if he wants it.

  • smudgeon on August 22, 2011, 2:03 GMT

    Eh, I could take Marsh or leave him. I think there are plenty of gooder players who deserve a spot ahead of Shaun. I rate Khawaja & Finsh much higher.

  • HatsforBats on August 22, 2011, 2:01 GMT

    Lets all just wait and see how Marsh does in his next few innings. I predict a couple of single digit score and a 40-ball 20-something. Marsh is inconsistent, slow, and injury-prone. He seems classy and a nice enough lad but Hughes & Khawaja should be first choice, they have had outstanding starts to their careers and have had better seasons than Marsh has ever had. I would even take Cosgrove before Marsh (if he stops eating so many pies). Actually I imagine that Shaun will be still on the sidelines watching his little brother in a few years time.

  • hyclass on August 22, 2011, 1:04 GMT

    @Mari2619,Khawajas record is far superior to Marsh but his 1st class average has dropped from 53 to 45.He sometimes moves across and sometimes reaches.These duel movements make him prone to edging.I hope he comes good@NRI,David Hussey has never had the opportunities,his record deserves.He has had to put fast run scoring,low in the order,ahead of his wicket.He is a 4 day specialist and should be in the test side@Randyoz,In 09,before the Lions game,Nielsen forced Hughes to radically alter his technique.Like Pontings forward press,Hughes slight movement to leg of his back foot,was a trigger into his strokes.Forcing him to change it unbalanced his whole game,throwing out his drives and leaving him out of position to short balls.That was behind his sudden change in fortunes,not Harmison,or Test cricket.Harmison isnt in the same league as Steyn and the 1100 wicket SA test attack that Hughes thrashed.Nielsen had Watson pencilled in to open for the 09 Ashes,but Hughes was far too good to drop.

  • Meety on August 21, 2011, 23:50 GMT

    @ mari2619 - spot on! Khawaja should be the next cab off the rank, but on Shield honours I suppose it should be D Hussey next! Pity D Hussey wasn't born about 4 yrs later! One correction though - Khawaja did play in the Shield final but it was his first game in a while.

  • RandyOZ on August 21, 2011, 22:35 GMT

    I am in total and utter shock at the amount of Marsh supporters here. As @hyclass has so rightly put it, he's scored 6 hundreds in 111 innings! I am sick to death of someone producing a flash-in-the-pan performance like this, the media (as well as himself) hyping him up and everyone getting on the bandwagon. Futhermore with respect to the media, the only reason people think Hughes is rubbish is because they beat up his so-called "lack of technique." Well I can tell you right now, not every great batsmen plays like Mark Waugh or Damien Martyn. We should be picking players on SHIELD RECORD, as well as AUSTRALIA A performance. Based on this, Hughes is an absolute shoe in. Weight of runs and averages should determine your place in the team. And it is the lack of this thinking which has had players like Hughes and Katich omitted from the team. I bet people like @Winsome were complaining about Kat's exclusion - well guess what? Kat doesn't have a textbook technique either!

  • on August 21, 2011, 22:07 GMT

    Shaun marsh looks a good test player, look past his overall 1st class ave. and look at the past 2-3 seasons and he is averaging over 50 and has proven to have the ability to make big scores in odi's

  • Meety on August 21, 2011, 20:57 GMT

    @Winsome - I like Hyclass don't rate Marsh highly, I certainly don't HATE Marsh. I think selecting him would be as bad as selecting White in the test team. That's the great thing about an opinion - its just that - an opinion! Much rather Khawaja & Ferguson in the side (that being said Ferguson's FC stats aren't much better (in fact worse than Marsh) - difference being he HAS performed in International ODIs & bats in the middle order. @kickittome70 - "I see a great career now ahead for Marsh" - I agree, Mitchell though!

  • montys_muse on August 21, 2011, 19:18 GMT

    for now he looks like hes a good limited overs cricketer (both one days and twenty20s) and will need to do better to be test class....he was lucky to have been dropped, but he did make most of the opportunity.

  • Winsome on August 21, 2011, 18:20 GMT

    One other thing, anybody worried about Marsh getting in the test team, shouldn't get so worked up. Even if he gets a gig, he'll last about 2 matches before his body lets him down.

  • Winsome on August 21, 2011, 18:18 GMT

    Hey Hyclass, I hope you keep tally of every play and miss or nick or crazy swish that we get from Hughes, Watson or any of the other players. Keep banging the 'hate Marsh' drum with that sort of count, it's making you look crackers.

  • sher-e-slc on August 21, 2011, 16:20 GMT

    OHHH!! This guy is good, pretty good. He is a class apart and loads of talent. We need to find players like him for the Indian team. Great asset for the Aussies.

  • Mary_786 on August 21, 2011, 15:56 GMT

    Khawaja makes a promising debut, plays no shield games after that and according to Daneil Bretig is behind Marsh in the queue, where is the fairness in there, great journalism there. Marsh averages less then 40 in state cricket, and Khawaja close to 60, he has to wait his turn before he gets his turn to put on the baggy green.

  • on August 21, 2011, 15:36 GMT

    I have long been a fan of Hughes and believe his form was largely ruined by too many people trying to tweak his technique. You don't score the averages he was doing a Shield level as consistently as he was without talent. For that matter you don't score a back to back 1000 in your second test without serious talent. Although the way Katich was sacked was horrible, I do believe Katich shoud have been moved on earlier in a manner less clumsly than how are sersiously bad selectors sacked him. Kudos to the Argus review - we needed it.

  • Nerk on August 21, 2011, 14:51 GMT

    Marsh should be considered a prospect as Aus opener. He is very similar in style to Katich, the sort of player who can hold down an end when things are going poorly or score freely when they are going well. Though his averages may not be excellent, 37 after 60 first class games is not bad for an opener in Australia, and he has shown he is up to international standard at one day level on a number of occasions. I believe, given a chance, Marsh could play an important part at test level too. As for Hughes, he is a very good batsman, and will get another chance with the baggy green. I believe it is good that Australia still has quite a lot of depth, with such competition over the openers spot.

  • Gordo85 on August 21, 2011, 14:26 GMT

    I would prefer Marsh to Phillip Hughes who I can not stand what so ever. Plus playing Marsh instead of Hughes drops a New Soulth Wales player and what harm is that going to do when you have lots in the squad anyway.

  • hyclass on August 21, 2011, 12:40 GMT

    Geoff Marsh 50 tests.93 innings.4 centuries.average: 33.strike rate: 35.@popcorn.if you think these are the numbers of one of the greatest test openers,then its hardly surprising that you think Shaun Marsh is a prospect.As for Hughes,in a 6 month period from 2 dec 2008-5 may 2009, he scored 1637 runs in ten games at 96.That included 8 centuries with two in one test and 3 all time test records against SA. He was also a Shield Player of the Year, a Bradman Medallist and a Steve Waugh medallist.He has 537 runs in his last three 1st class games with 3 centuries.He made 138 for Australia A at last start.Its a matter of public record that when he joined the Australian side BEFORE the England Lions game,he was instructed to change his game by Nielsen and Co.He failed only because of these instructions.Everytime since,that hes played a test,hes been forced to comply with them.When free to play his own game,hes a superstar.Watch his 115 & 160 v SA on Youtube.This is how the real Hughes plays.

  • NRI- on August 21, 2011, 12:32 GMT

    Hi Hyclass, if first class averages are most important and I agree that they are then David Hussey with a first class batting average >55 shoudl be the first man to be selected in the Australian XI as a batsman. He should be ahead of Clarke, Hughes and even his brother Michael and definitely ahead of Khawaja.

  • on August 21, 2011, 11:39 GMT

    Marsh has great technique , i think he just needs experience on the international stage after that hell be much better than he is now . He can easily fill in the opening role but as for usman khawaja hes still a classy player and both should be picked Marsh in the top order and Khawaja in middle :)

  • VivGilchrist on August 21, 2011, 11:38 GMT

    These comments of Marsh taking Hughes spot confuse me. I think now that Katich has been unjustly axed there's no reason why they both can't open together. Watson would be better suited at 4 anyway, as he can play more that Kallis-like role in the team. Hughes is more the aggressor that can set the tone in the first session and Marsh can play the more stable role. Clarke bats better at 5 in Tests with Khawaja at 6. When Ponting retires, Khawaja moves up to 3 and Ferg goes to no6. See a succession plan. Depending on form of course. Alternatively you could keep playing all the old guys until they retire when they feel like leaving the side unprepared for transition.

  • hyclass on August 21, 2011, 11:14 GMT

    The Shaun Marsh CV and why he should never play tests: Should have been out on 8,caught at slip,an easy chance...off Mendis.Edged three more times,the third being taken...off a spinner. Has a poor 1st class record. Has 25 players with better averages in australian 1st class cricket,including the much maligned Smith whose technique still makes more runs. Cant concentrate.Just learned that hes supposed to watch the ball from the hand.Has only 6 hundreds in 111 innings- a hundred every 17 innings. Is regularly injured. Has never had a big season. Is unreliable. Scores very slowly in 1st class cricket. Made 50 off 124 and 5 off 24 his last Shield game. Doesnt bowl. Is no longer a kid coming through. Is being outperformed by younger and better choices in Australian cricket. Was damned lucky to make more than 8 in this game.

  • Mcgrath-Dravid-Flintoff on August 21, 2011, 10:44 GMT

    Shaun Marsh is pure class. let him open now that Katich is gone

  • popcorn on August 21, 2011, 10:43 GMT

    Mark Waugh, one of the most elegant and greatest Test and One Day batsmen Australia has had , has watched Shaun Marsh at close quarters while he has done commentary on Shield Games across the country. He says Shaun Marsh has excellent Test match technique - that showed yesterday on a difficult pitch. He is a far better Test opener than the flashy, risky Phil Hughes.Shaun's father, Geoff Marsh, was one of the best Test Openers.It runs in their blood.

  • hyclass on August 21, 2011, 10:38 GMT

    Mendis's recent 20/20 form,was a result of the need to score every ball against disguised variations.It is at the core of all that idealogically distances it from proper cricket.Leaving the ball is a huge advantage.Now,Marsh is following the well worn recent path of players and officials publicly self promoting.If they were performing,promoting would be unnecessary.That Marsh felt calmer is less to do with practice and more with having 50 overs as an opener to bat.If only D.Hussey ever received the same opportunities.I find it staggering to read that Marsh wasnt watching the ball.Its the first element of batting.He is famed for lacking focus and that comment indicates little has changed.He was dropped off Mendis at slip,on 8,an easy catch.So much for playing him better.He was caught behind off debutant spinner Prasanna.So much for playing spin better.He edged twice more off pace bowlers.Neither his record,nor this game recommend him for tests,particularly when so many are way better.

  • dsig3 on August 21, 2011, 10:35 GMT

    Mendis should keep inventing new deliveries so we can keep smashing him. His next new delivery should be bowled 10m wide of the stumps down to fine leg boundary to save everyone the effort. @chandau, if Marsh should keep quiet then Mendis should never have opened his mouth!

  • kickittome70 on August 21, 2011, 10:33 GMT

    Marsh should be opening for the Ausralian Test side alongside Watson. Kawaja should come in at 3 and the cherry ripe and in what looks like great form Ricky Ponting should slot down to 6. Phil Hughes dosent deserve to even carry the bags of the test team. He is a hack and is a direct product of Hilditchs poor acumen. Marsh has been dealing with personal issues over the past 18 months and has now come through this time fitter, more skilled and better self awareness. There has never been a better time to bring him in the test side. It's funny how Marsh really wasnt sold for playing test cricket by the media. Look at Hughes and Steve Smith were mass marketed in the NSW press as walk up starts to play tests. Look how the selectors fumbled with where to bat Steve Smith. How you could stick a young inexperienced bloke with an iffy technique at a specialist no 6 batting spot just shows that selectors never had a clue.I see a great career now ahead for Marsh, the guy has poise and poise counts

  • on August 21, 2011, 10:15 GMT

    Shuan Marsh is a good ODI player. The aussie team is a better team with him in it.

  • on August 21, 2011, 9:45 GMT

    Oh brother JL is still the batting coach; please... Oh well at least it seems to have had some postive effect of Marsh.

  • Nightwing32 on August 21, 2011, 9:39 GMT

    I liked Marsh but it is going to be tough for him to get into the team. You need either Smith out and you need to beat out Usman. Also you have to hope that someone under performs.

    I can't seem him getting into the side for quite a while to be honest unless what I said above happens. Although I would rather Callum :P

  • jin87 on August 21, 2011, 9:25 GMT

    Pathetic loss by Sri Lanka didnt show no grit and determination this is bad because we rarely use to lose at home I think the aussies will take the test series too

  • chandau on August 21, 2011, 9:19 GMT

    hmm one good innings and.... well lets hope SRi LankA can post 260+ in the next match and then see how Marsh goes about chasing it. Shud have kept it to himself, without firing up Mendis and now Prasanna (SL Army no less!) Must say its the logical option, to open with Marsh and demote Haddin to 7 and drop Smith from the XI. Just could not understand the logic of playing Smith. If ur top 5 bowlers cant do it then the selection is wrong! Reminds of Cameron White; initially he was the off spinner to partner Warne, then a bowling allrounder or the 5th bowler, next a batsman who bowls or the 6th bowler and finally a top order batsman who does not bowl! Pity coz the guy has talent but different signals from the selectors and management and coaches and captains has made him a so so cricketer. On the other hand Marsh may show the selectors he can bat at the top if given a chance. he was good in the IPL and with the time in ODIs he can bat more cautiously and freely at the same time :)

  • jonesy2 on August 21, 2011, 9:16 GMT

    ive been saying for ages, SOS is absolute class, one of the most talented batsmen ive seen and rises to play his best at international level. he should be given every opportunity to make the number 6 test spot his own. and having the sheer brilliant talent of usman as a back-up, what does that say about the strength of australian cricket??

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  • jonesy2 on August 21, 2011, 9:16 GMT

    ive been saying for ages, SOS is absolute class, one of the most talented batsmen ive seen and rises to play his best at international level. he should be given every opportunity to make the number 6 test spot his own. and having the sheer brilliant talent of usman as a back-up, what does that say about the strength of australian cricket??

  • chandau on August 21, 2011, 9:19 GMT

    hmm one good innings and.... well lets hope SRi LankA can post 260+ in the next match and then see how Marsh goes about chasing it. Shud have kept it to himself, without firing up Mendis and now Prasanna (SL Army no less!) Must say its the logical option, to open with Marsh and demote Haddin to 7 and drop Smith from the XI. Just could not understand the logic of playing Smith. If ur top 5 bowlers cant do it then the selection is wrong! Reminds of Cameron White; initially he was the off spinner to partner Warne, then a bowling allrounder or the 5th bowler, next a batsman who bowls or the 6th bowler and finally a top order batsman who does not bowl! Pity coz the guy has talent but different signals from the selectors and management and coaches and captains has made him a so so cricketer. On the other hand Marsh may show the selectors he can bat at the top if given a chance. he was good in the IPL and with the time in ODIs he can bat more cautiously and freely at the same time :)

  • jin87 on August 21, 2011, 9:25 GMT

    Pathetic loss by Sri Lanka didnt show no grit and determination this is bad because we rarely use to lose at home I think the aussies will take the test series too

  • Nightwing32 on August 21, 2011, 9:39 GMT

    I liked Marsh but it is going to be tough for him to get into the team. You need either Smith out and you need to beat out Usman. Also you have to hope that someone under performs.

    I can't seem him getting into the side for quite a while to be honest unless what I said above happens. Although I would rather Callum :P

  • on August 21, 2011, 9:45 GMT

    Oh brother JL is still the batting coach; please... Oh well at least it seems to have had some postive effect of Marsh.

  • on August 21, 2011, 10:15 GMT

    Shuan Marsh is a good ODI player. The aussie team is a better team with him in it.

  • kickittome70 on August 21, 2011, 10:33 GMT

    Marsh should be opening for the Ausralian Test side alongside Watson. Kawaja should come in at 3 and the cherry ripe and in what looks like great form Ricky Ponting should slot down to 6. Phil Hughes dosent deserve to even carry the bags of the test team. He is a hack and is a direct product of Hilditchs poor acumen. Marsh has been dealing with personal issues over the past 18 months and has now come through this time fitter, more skilled and better self awareness. There has never been a better time to bring him in the test side. It's funny how Marsh really wasnt sold for playing test cricket by the media. Look at Hughes and Steve Smith were mass marketed in the NSW press as walk up starts to play tests. Look how the selectors fumbled with where to bat Steve Smith. How you could stick a young inexperienced bloke with an iffy technique at a specialist no 6 batting spot just shows that selectors never had a clue.I see a great career now ahead for Marsh, the guy has poise and poise counts

  • dsig3 on August 21, 2011, 10:35 GMT

    Mendis should keep inventing new deliveries so we can keep smashing him. His next new delivery should be bowled 10m wide of the stumps down to fine leg boundary to save everyone the effort. @chandau, if Marsh should keep quiet then Mendis should never have opened his mouth!

  • hyclass on August 21, 2011, 10:38 GMT

    Mendis's recent 20/20 form,was a result of the need to score every ball against disguised variations.It is at the core of all that idealogically distances it from proper cricket.Leaving the ball is a huge advantage.Now,Marsh is following the well worn recent path of players and officials publicly self promoting.If they were performing,promoting would be unnecessary.That Marsh felt calmer is less to do with practice and more with having 50 overs as an opener to bat.If only D.Hussey ever received the same opportunities.I find it staggering to read that Marsh wasnt watching the ball.Its the first element of batting.He is famed for lacking focus and that comment indicates little has changed.He was dropped off Mendis at slip,on 8,an easy catch.So much for playing him better.He was caught behind off debutant spinner Prasanna.So much for playing spin better.He edged twice more off pace bowlers.Neither his record,nor this game recommend him for tests,particularly when so many are way better.

  • popcorn on August 21, 2011, 10:43 GMT

    Mark Waugh, one of the most elegant and greatest Test and One Day batsmen Australia has had , has watched Shaun Marsh at close quarters while he has done commentary on Shield Games across the country. He says Shaun Marsh has excellent Test match technique - that showed yesterday on a difficult pitch. He is a far better Test opener than the flashy, risky Phil Hughes.Shaun's father, Geoff Marsh, was one of the best Test Openers.It runs in their blood.