Sri Lanka v Australia, 2nd Test, Pallekele, 3rd day

Marsh performs, who will perish?

Shaun Marsh's debut century has opened up one of Australian cricket's most significant selection debates and has put pressure on numerous incumbents, including Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke

Daniel Brettig in Pallekele

September 10, 2011

Comments: 43 | Text size: A | A

Shaun Marsh was the 19th Australian to score a century on Test debut, Sri Lanka v Australia, 2nd Test, Pallekele, 3rd day, September 10, 2011
Shaun Marsh's effort will stick in the memory for its poise, patience and maturity © Associated Press

"It is critical that superior performance is rewarded at all levels. Players must earn their positions in the time-honoured way of making runs, taking wickets and showing that they are ready to play at the next level … players must be held accountable when they are not performing. This has been an issue in recent years." - the Argus review.

A masterful century on Test debut by Shaun Marsh has opened up one of Australian cricket's most significant selection debates for some years, at a time when the panel itself is being remodelled and imbued with the strongest sense that performance must be rewarded above all else.

Marsh was handed his baggy green cap because the former captain Ricky Ponting was absent to attend the birth of his second child. It seemed accepted at the time that Marsh would make way when Ponting returned. But an innings of 141, as part of a stand of 258 with Australia's best Test batsman of the last 12 months, Michael Hussey, was so compelling that Marsh must be retained for the third Test in Colombo.

The matter of who loses his place to accommodate Marsh is rich with viewpoints and intrigues, most of all the fact that the batsmen least able to point to their records for proof of retention include Ponting and the captain Michael Clarke. The man more likely to make way is one of Phil Hughes or Usman Khawaja, yet both are strongly regarded as the future of Australia's Test batting, and neither has performed poorly enough in Sri Lanka to deserve omission from the final Test.

Khawaja has made starts in each of his five Test innings to date, and shows evidence of a classical talent that can only bloom when given time. Hughes is less stylish, but was out to a brute of a ball and a speculative umpiring decision in the first Test in Galle, then gave his side a start in the first innings of the second. His record since being recalled for the injured - and subsequently culled - Simon Katich is not a strong one, but perseverance in his case should also produce an ultimate reward.

Don Argus' stipulations about the need to reward performance above all else shines the harshest light on the batting of the side's two most accomplished players. Ponting and Clarke have both demonstrated strong form in limited-overs cricket of late, but the reserves of concentration demonstrated by Marsh were such that there were lessons for the senior men to learn from it. Neither has made a Test century for 22 innings, and it is entirely questionable on recent evidence if either is presently capable of the sort of sustained batting display that Marsh has just produced.

Before the match Clarke had said he hoped Hughes, Marsh and Khawaja all performed strongly for it would create the sort of pressure for places that all the best teams need. He also conceded that there was not a single batsman in the first Test who could not have done better - though Hussey could be forgiven for diverging from that view.

"I believe these guys do deserve an opportunity, no doubt, but in saying that the player is responsible as well," Clarke had said. "The player needs to grab it with both hands. The great players that I've been lucky to play with, it doesn't really matter how they got their opportunity - whether someone got injured, someone got suspended, someone got rested - generally the guy that came in made the most of that opportunity.

"What we're trying to do with Australian cricket now is to continue to keep our domestic competition as strong as we possibly can, so there is pressure on the international players - there's someone back home that will take your spot. Shaun is dying for his opportunity, now he gets his chance."

That pressure has just been brought most prominently to bear on numerous Australia Test batting incumbents ironically enough by a player who many felt had not put enough runs together to warrant a Test spot in the first place. Marsh's effort will stick in the memory for its poise, patience and maturity - all the attributes an international batsman needs.

During last summer's Ashes series such attributes were in short supply, as all of Australia's batsmen save for Hussey were frustrated by a disciplined English line.

All Western Australia cricketers point to the WACA Ground pitch as an excellent proving ground for top-order players, as its traditional bounce teaches batsmen to become accomplished at leaving all but the straightest and fullest of deliveries early on.

Thus trained, Marsh is capable of batting anywhere from No. 1 to No. 6 in the order, the sort of versatility that means no Australia batsman should feel completely safe about their place in the XI. While Hughes and Khawaja are the duo most likely to be shuffling nervously, the trenchant findings of the Argus review are such that not even Ponting or Clarke should be sitting at ease about where they stand in the makeup of the team.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by brisCricFan on (September 12, 2011, 3:37 GMT)

Once again, a conversation about a few current Aus batsmen in a bit of form contending for 1 position turns into the lynch-mob calling for Johnson's dismissal... " I just don't think we can afford to carry a passenger in the hope of an occasional flash in pan" ... if only our other bowlers could pull off thoses flashes. Check the records, his Test & ODI record is as good or better than all but the GREATS... I will go out on a limb and declare now he will be at least the 3rd highest wicket taker of all time for Aus in both forms... The lad averages 2 wickets per innings... with a 5 pronged attack, that means he is doing his bit ... and if any of you blokes out there have been bowlers, you would well know that some of your best spells don't get a wicket but aid in the wickets falling at the other end. This story is about the batting stocks, and much as I like Marsh, he needs to go back to the bench for Ponting; especially now as this game may well end in a draw.

Posted by hyclass on (September 12, 2011, 0:40 GMT)

@Winsome.DeCosta,said since joining the Test team before the 09 Ashes tour,Hughes has not been free to play his own game.Hughes has verified it.His game in Eng.was entirely different from that against a far better SA.His results before that and this series-1637 runs at 96 with 8 centuries-2 in tests-before the Ashes 09 in 10 games.557 at 92 in 3 games with 3 centuries and a List A 138 against SA-A before this tour,at high S/R.Marsh has succeeded on very flat tracks,mostly against poor attacks.SL is the poorest i can recall.His last 1st class century 2010,was in a high scoring draw on the Adelaide oval.The attack was anonymous.Other match scores were:North-101*, Ferguson-129, Blizzard-141*,Marsh made half his seasons runs.Marsh made his previous 108*,2009,when SthAust,bowled for a declaration at Adelaide.Bailey and Haberfield bowled 34 of 52 overs.Again,half his season runs.His 166* in 2007-other match scores-Pomersbach-176,Maher-111,Ronchi-105*-54 balls.In between,hes shown nothing.

Posted by RightArmEverything on (September 11, 2011, 12:32 GMT)

What a high-class player Shaun Marsh is proving to be, couldn't be more pleased to see him get a ton on debut. Whether anyone were to acheive this against the best bowling attack currently around, England, or a weaker and inexperienced one such as Sri Lanka, it's a wonderful effort that deserves acknowledgement. Whether Marsh makes way for Ponting in the next test or not, I'm sure he'll be on the scene for some time to come, providing he stays injury-free. I'm sure his FC batting avg will soon climb to reflect that of his past two Shield seasons which have been about 59 I think, from a small number games in each season, which might just validate his selection to those who analyse such things in great detail.

Posted by   on (September 11, 2011, 11:09 GMT)

It's always baffled me why Shaun Marsh has been overlooked for the Australian Test XI for so long, whilst far inferior players have been given their opportunity. I know he's had a few injury problems but he's been kept waiting far too long. A top six of Watson, Katich, Marsh, Ponting, Hussey and Clarke and maybe last year's Ashes Tests might just have been slightly closer.

Posted by Winsome on (September 11, 2011, 11:03 GMT)

The most noticeable thing about Marsh's ininngs is that he didn't go out to dominate, or 'entertain' or any of the daft things that come out of the Aus camp. He just went out there to last as long as he could, which he managed to do very well, weak attack or not. It sounded like a refreshing attitude. It amazes me that Hyclass has managed to make Hughes sounds not at all af fault for not doing well and yet Marsh at fault for taking his one opportunity. That takes real talent, stuff batting. Anyhow, I don't think anyone should be dropped for Marsh as fill-ins should be put back on the bench and both Hughes and Khawaja need to be given at least two series under Clarke. It's tough for Marsh as he looked like a test batsman and no-one else apart from Huss did but I'm tired of short-term fixes with the Aus team they need to show some committment to the newbies not just the old guys.

Posted by hyclass on (September 11, 2011, 9:05 GMT)

@Jono Makim.I agree,Hughes said before this tour that,'He would do it his way'and he clearly hasnt.Its not good enough.152 runs from 362 balls is not his game.I also agree with you about Clarkes statement.Haydens game was about Hayden-no-one else.It is impossible to know,'No-one has been in Hughes ear'. DeCosta,an Australian coach in India and Clarkes mentor,said that Hughes had been told to play and prepare differently to his own game at Test level,causing his difficulty in the first place.Hughes made it clear,he had returned to his own game after talking with him recently,leading to 633 runs in 7 innings plus a List A hundred against SA-A.The same men are still in charge.Its no co-incidence,each time he joins the Test side,he moves from a free scoring,high averaging,confident player,to a slow scoring,unconvincing player.As for Marsh,this is one of the weakest Test attacks i can recall in 40 years.Well done,but its not the basis for dropping Ponting or others,that many are calling for

Posted by   on (September 11, 2011, 8:12 GMT)

@kaze I'm with you in putting marsh in to open and watson to #6, but your dead wrong on the "Ponting stay home" question. I'm sure all those who've suggested it have, like me, done it out of respect for the man - it should be a CA suggestion, and Punter's decision. I'm more worried about our bowling than I am about our batting, where we have options. I just don't think we can afford to carry a passenger in the hope of an occasional flash in pan - I'm talking about Johnson of course, and Watto's not doing much with the ball either.

Posted by   on (September 11, 2011, 7:29 GMT)

I always believed marsh can succeed at test level.I'm not wrong. I wish him a long test career and answer many problems Australian batting order was facing for last few years.

Posted by VivGilchrist on (September 11, 2011, 7:22 GMT)

@hyclass, I am not a huge fan of Marsh but you can only play against the attack dished out before you. If he had failed, you would be condemning him for failing against a weak attack. Here he succeeds and the argument is that is against a weak attack. How does that place the innings of all the other guys that scored less than him?

Posted by   on (September 11, 2011, 7:02 GMT)

@ Hyclass. Phil Hughes has no-one in his ear, i would suggest, apart from his own thoughts. How many times have we heard Clarke encouraging newcomers to play their own game? How many times have we read that Hughes is 'going to do it my way this time'? He needs to sort out his own thinking. Hayden had similar problems early on. On Marsh, you are like a politician to convince everyone of an increasingly difficult position, continually comin gat it from different angles. We all know of Marsh's battles but he's there now and made a big ton. He seems to have got his head on and got himself properly fit, always had the talent, he's a turnaround story and it may be time to get on board.

Posted by onlinegamer55 on (September 11, 2011, 6:28 GMT)

You can always count on hyclass to find a weakness in Marsh no matter what the situation! I think it is fair to say that Marsh played a fine innings in this test match for his score of 141. However, hyclass raises a very valid point; in addition to the fact that the wicket is quite flat, SL's bowling attack is very inexperienced. SL are a good team at the moment because of their batting. Since Murali retired, their bowling has suffered. Marsh can only play what he is given, of course, and he has made the most of his opportunity. However, I think he should be the one to make way for Ponting in the third test match against SL. Hughes should certainly not make way especially since he was very unlucky in the first test to get out twice. I think Hughes has a positive mindset which is good to see. Khawaja has not been in form in the Australia A tour and I suspect he will be axed for Marsh. However, I would rather this not happen; Marsh did well but FC averages do not lie in the long run.

Posted by hyclass on (September 11, 2011, 4:53 GMT)

SL boasted one of the Worlds weakest attacks in this Test: Welegedara.9 Tests.22 wickets.average.47.40.S/R.67.7.Lakmal.6 Tests.14 wickets.average.40.92.S/R.63.7.Randiv.4 Tests.16 wickets.average..44.S/ Tests.Their front line bowlers had 19 Tests and 40 wickets.This wouldnt constitute a Shield level attack. Between Nov. 2007, 4 years ago & this SL Test hundred,on a flat track against one of the weakest Test attacks in the world, Marsh made...2...first class hundreds...both on the Adelaide oval against a weak Sth Australian attack. Of the 345 runs at 23 in 15 innings hes played for state & country since Dec1,2010, his scores have included,0 ,0, 5, 20, 6, 1, 16, 4, 0, 2, 12. Even with this hundred,his SL tour is still only 229 runs at 38 & his 2011 record 362 runs at 36. North,whose record is far superior to Marsh,made a hundred on debut against a genuine Test attack in SA,2 years ago.North,David Hussey,Rogers,Katich,McDonald & Cosgrove are all better options than Marsh

Posted by chandau on (September 11, 2011, 3:56 GMT)

Oz need to open with Marsh and Hughes so that Watson can bat at 6 and be a genuine allrounder a la Freddie, Imran, Wasim, Kapil Botham et al. Hughes, Marsh, Ponting, Clark, Hussy, Watson, Haddin, Jhonson, Harris, Lyon, Trent is a better lineup. to further tune it may be Hussy could bat at 4 to have a left-right combination going. It will let Watson bowl more overs also as he will have a rest inbetween innings. ideal situ would have been katich for Hughes :) Hope Warner will be classed as a ODI player only. He and Adrian Barath share simillar batting traits (even same height and build i guess), so maybe if Hughes fails Warner may be considered. He could be the Shewag of OZ LOL. SRI LANKA too need a new opener may be Thirimanne so Dilshan can bat in the middle say 6. Para, Lahiru, Sanga, Mahela, Angelo, Dilly, PJ, Randiv, Herath, Lakmal, Chanaka may be worth trying. After all nothing is won or lost till the last wicket falls or the last ball is bowled !! cheers SRI LANKA

Posted by Kaze on (September 11, 2011, 2:48 GMT)

How funny people want Ponting to stay home bet they're indians. It would make more sense to drop Khawaja and promote marsh to opener and put Watson at 6.

Posted by   on (September 11, 2011, 1:18 GMT)

lets wait until the end of this test match before we judge anything. khawaja is in the middle of his 1st innings of the test and is looking good, hughes or he might come out in second innings and score some runs themselves and marsh could fail. Who knows, lets not jump to conclusions before we have to and wait and see, In saying that, there is no reason why Ponting couldnt be left out because he has played badly in tests of late. But i know he is STILL BETTER then both hughes and khawaja, and he is MORE LIKELY to make big runs. so i wouldnt drop him, we saw with hussey he almost got dropped but know look how good he is and how many runs he is hitting, it was a great move to stick with his experience

Posted by VivGilchrist on (September 10, 2011, 23:36 GMT)

There's no issue. Ponting should stay at home with his young family for the final Test. This gives him time to be a dad, and also a chance for generation next to prove there claims. Ponting has nothing to gain by going back to SL. He has still got the SAf tour coming up where he will resume as Australia's no 3.I will respect him more if he stays at home for the final Test.

Posted by   on (September 10, 2011, 23:25 GMT)

At best Sri-Lanka pace attack is a good club level. Marsh has no demonstrated that he can stand up to a good pace attack. Sri-Lanka is not the only team Australia is going to play. I commend Marsh's heroics, however, I believe Khawaja, Ponting, Clarke have proven lot more than Marsh. Phil Hughes is circumspect.

Posted by D.V.C. on (September 10, 2011, 23:09 GMT)

To suggest Clarke isn't safe is disingenuous. He's just been made captain, and his captaining has been praised. While he hasn't made a hundred for a while, his form of late has been good, and he made a half century at Galle when conditions were very tough. It would take a string of poor performances for the selectors to consider dropping Clarke.

Posted by wix99 on (September 10, 2011, 22:35 GMT)

The short term solution to the selectors' dilemma is to tell Ricky Ponting to stay home and look after his new baby! With Australia in a strong position to win the series Ponting is not urgently needed. It would be better for Australia to give all three batsmen another opportunity to show the selectors what they can do and that will make the decision about who to drop for the Tests in South Africa a lot easier.

Posted by othello22 on (September 10, 2011, 22:17 GMT)

It's a good problem to have, isn't it? If it were up to me, Hughes would be the one making room as he hasn't really done anything lately to warrant his spot. Move Marsh into Hughes' spot at the top, Khawaja to 3, Hussey 4, Ponting 5 (time for him to move down the order), Clarke 6 (he has been a failure at 4, most of his runs have come batting 6) and then Haddin and the bowlers. This is the order that makes sense to me. Watson needs to start applying himself more too, his unconverted starts are not a good look for an opening batsman so maybe he needs to go down the order too if he does not improve on this. Haddin is surely living on borrowed time, if he cannot find some form before the end of this series then he must be dropped for Tim Paine.

Posted by stickman75 on (September 10, 2011, 21:43 GMT)

Yes popcorn, Australia lost the ashes because of Hughes. But he only played 2 tests that makes sense doesn't it? Hughes is a talent and should be given an extended run, as is marsh i am very pleased by his test ton and there will be more to come. Khawaja is class if he did miss out he would be back in no time.

Posted by meursault on (September 10, 2011, 18:37 GMT)

Yes, dyson85, Clarke's 60 in those conditions last match was probably worth as much as Mark Taylor's 334 on that road in Peshawar where every second batsman made a ton. Unfortunately, Aussie armchair selectors just look at the stats and don't watch enough cricket.

Despite the raw statistics, Haddin is the only Aussie batsman really out of form and the first who looks to be massively struiggling at the crease since Hussey before the Ashes (and we saw how that worked out). Hopefully he finds some form in the last test and Tim Paine gets fit soon if he doesn't.

Posted by puntertakeson on (September 10, 2011, 18:22 GMT)

Srilanka is a zero talented team. In future it would be like Bangladesh or Zimbabwe or Kenya for matter. After retirement of Jayawerdane and Sangakara.

Posted by OhhhhMattyMatty on (September 10, 2011, 17:36 GMT)

Hughes and Khawaja got made to look very silly by England last Winter. Why do Australia persist with them?! Only going to end in tears in 2013!

Posted by mensan on (September 10, 2011, 17:35 GMT)

@Barnesy4444 has made a good point. We should not judge Marsh on the basis of one good innings. It must be kept in mind that he has just 6 first class 100's in 60-odd matches with average just in high thirties. Ponting should retire soon gracefully though. He will be 37 in Dec. Time to concentrate on family now. Not eveyone can be Gooch (playing at 42).

Posted by dyson85 on (September 10, 2011, 16:53 GMT)

In regards to people questioning Michael Clarkes position in the Test side... did you not see his 60 in the second innings of the first Test? Not statistically astounding, but in the context of that match was worth 150. And equally as important as Hussey much lauded 90 odd in the first innings. I can't believe people still question this guys credentials. He is our captain, he is a class batsman. Show a little respect and have some faith.

Posted by jonesy2 on (September 10, 2011, 16:28 GMT)

there is no debate. marsh obviously keeps his rightful spot and hughes or khawaja get dropped, for now, but then whoever doesnt perform they can come in for. australia have an amazing position where there are more elite test batsmen around then they know what to do with. such depth, only a good thing.

Posted by Blazedragon on (September 10, 2011, 16:19 GMT)

All that first class talk always got on my nerves. Marsh here has shown why form and class beats any first class record.

Posted by Barnesy4444 on (September 10, 2011, 15:23 GMT)

Marsh at 6 but keep Khawaja around the team. If Punter's form drops I think he will retire rather than needing to be pushed. I'm still not getting carried away by Marsh, it's only Sri Lanka and this is only his 7th first class century in over 10 years.

Posted by NALINWIJ on (September 10, 2011, 14:45 GMT)

I agree that Australia has a pleasant selection headache to ponder and if they win this test as expected then extending Ponting""s leave may give the two young men another chance. Sri Lanka on the other hand has a nightmare to ponder. I wonder why Mathews was not given a short spell? They need to have Herath and Mendis back and Walgedera appears to be a man with little potential. The T20 mentality has lead to the most inept batting performance by SL. Where has the old fashioned grit gone? Sure loss of Murali is a blow but Mendis and Herath when fit is a good backup but that is no excuse for poor batting.

Posted by   on (September 10, 2011, 14:27 GMT)

Congratulations to Shaun Marsh, hope he can consolidate in future games, I think Ricky should sit out the 3rd test as well to give the generation of Hughes, Marsh & Khawja the chance to prove or disprove their spots. Haddin playing to much cricket, playing T20 hasn't done his game any favours.

Posted by   on (September 10, 2011, 13:51 GMT)

Michael Clarke and Ricky Ponting are both in decent touch. However, their concentration and application is lacking, as is Brad Haddin's (although I'd say he's getting to the point of being woefully out of form now). My changes would be Marsh for Clarke, retain Ponting though because of his legacy and Tim Paine for Brad Haddin. I'd appoint Michael Hussey as captain because, unfortunately, you cannot have a specialist captain. My suggestions for improvement to Brad Haddin and Michael Clarke is that both should go back to Shield Cricket for a while.

Posted by Okakaboka on (September 10, 2011, 13:49 GMT)

Interesting points and questions posed...No doubt Marsh should get a second opportunity at Khawaja's expense....but Haddin and Johnston MUST go. Neither perform! Haddin the worst Keeper playing State cricket...who now can't bat and Spraygun Johnston who hardly ever makes runs and only gets wickets because the batsmen chase is 'dog's breakfast' deliveries. Copeland's success highlights the stupidity of dropping Andrew McDonald. Look at History... Many of our great bowlers were not that fast...Alan Connolly, Terry Alderman, Dennis Lillie (2nd half of his career), Merve Hughes, Damien Fleming, Glen McGrath. In McDonald's case, he is/was a quality all rounder who may have tipped the balance back in Australia's favour last summer specially given that Ponting, Clarke and Spraygun couldn't buy a run! Haddin's time is up...Read the use-by date. The jar has been left open way too long!

Posted by baldster on (September 10, 2011, 13:36 GMT)

Great to see really tough competition for places. Too hard to tell for me. Khawaja or Hughes. Maybe Khawaja through absolutely no fault of his own. But I tip him to make shield runs early in the season and keep his name up there. Whoever loses out will be back soon enough. Ponting's last summer this home summer??? The team now has the personnel to move forward. He should be sent of grandly like the legend he is. He deserves to call time himself. But with 2 children now, maybe it would be nice. That said Punter will keep his spot as long as he wants....

Posted by   on (September 10, 2011, 13:30 GMT)

Good beaning but senior player like ponting an clarke they are strong player.they are assets for team.Australia need senior player. ponting is in good form one an test.few day ago ponting create history.100 test win for atif rahman

Posted by   on (September 10, 2011, 13:24 GMT)

It's a problem, but a welcome one .. since the mass exodus of greats in 2006 and subsequent retirement/ ousters of Hayden and Katich - for the first time AUS batting line up is developing a strong core with each of the incumbents: Marsh, Hughes and Khawaja grizzled and time tested in domestic and international exposure, and readied for top flight cricket. Whether they have the ambition to turn themselves into greats is yet to be determined, but they've certainly made a case for letting them spend more time IN the time than OUT of it.

Posted by Sanj747 on (September 10, 2011, 13:20 GMT)

Drop Haddin and Johnson. Hussey can wicket keep and bring in a new bowler. A bit of a wild selection chnage but can't see any value Haddin and Johnson are bringing.

Posted by Mary_786 on (September 10, 2011, 13:17 GMT)

Hughes should make way for Marsh, Get Marsh to open and Khawaja to stay at 6

Posted by   on (September 10, 2011, 12:54 GMT)

I think marsh should open. He is the next bradman.

Posted by   on (September 10, 2011, 12:42 GMT)

Maybe Ponting could put on the wicketkeepers gloves for the third test in place of Haddin

Posted by   on (September 10, 2011, 12:40 GMT)

One solution would be to give the new father a bit more time at home. I'm sure his missus would be happy and the arm chair selectors can have another good look at the three new boys. On another point, M.Hussey is worth his weight in gold and a true pro. I was at Adelaide Oval on the 4th day of the Ashes in 2006/7. At lunch with Clarke and Warne batting the game into what looked like a certain draw, Hussey was out on the ground practising his bowling! Lastly, Sir, your articles are top notch! I particularly liked the title of one a few weeks back along the lines of 'Sound and Fury Signifying Much'. Thank you and keep up the good work.

Posted by popcorn on (September 10, 2011, 12:36 GMT)

I have NEVER felt conmfortable watching Phil Hughes as an opener. His twin centuries in South Africa were a flash in the pan. He is undependable,he is susceptible to the rising ball, he got found out in The Ashes 2009 and had to be dropped,and he has NEVER performed in Tests (except in South Africa.He is not a grafter.He gives away his wicket easily.He is way way below Usman Khawaja and Shaun Marsh.These two can be compared with SOLID Openers like Justin Langer,Mathew Hayden,Mark Taylor,Simon Katich, to name a few dependable openers who can lay the foundation for a big score. when Phil Hughes goes out to bat, Number 3 better get ready to go out to bat the second ball. That's how bad he is.We lost The Ashes 2009 because of him. Phil Hughes must go.

Posted by stormy16 on (September 10, 2011, 12:26 GMT)

Its a nice problem to have and my call is Hughes must give way. As an opener he hasnt done enough to fill too much confidence and against the spinners he hasnt looked too convincing. Marsh can and has opened and against a spin based attack her has looked very assured. I must say I was expecting both Hughes and Kawaja to have 3 tests to but Marsh has kicked open the door and surely cannot be drpped.

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Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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