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June 24, 2008
The comparisons between Shaun Marsh and his father Geoff are unlikely to stop, but the son achieved things in his first one-day international that were out of his father's reach. The 2008 version of the game must sometimes be unrecogniseable to Geoff, who was part of Australia's resurgence through the limited-overs revolution in the 1980s before coaching the team in the 1990s.
Back in his playing days, Marsh was the designated tortoise, picking up singles and trying to end the innings with a century. If he did that, Australia were confident of winning. In 117 one-day games his strike-rate was 55.93, a figure which is frightening for contemporary players. They know they would be dropped if they scored so slowly for even a handful of games.
Geoff collected 13 off 43 balls in a solid debut 22 years ago. Today Shaun was much more compelling with 81 from 97 in a Man-of-the-Match performance that showed he is his own man. The only disappointment in a week that has included a Twenty20 International debut was he left without posting a century.
"I probably should have [got a hundred]," Marsh said after play. "It's fantastic to be over here and I still can't believe I'm here. To go well was really good and to get a win was even better."
There was no mistaking his attacking play, which brought up seven fours and a six after being honed in the Indian Premier League, but there remained slight confusion when he was preparing to collect his individual prize. The commentator Tony Cozier desperately wanted to call Shaun by his father's name. It is something he will be used to.
Ricky Ponting was in no doubt about the key performer in the 84-run victory. "Shaun Marsh, in his debut innings, played a beautiful innings," Ponting said. "He looked terrific right from the outset."
Ponting was pleased with his batsmen, who propelled the team to 273 for 8 on a testing pitch, but wanted to improve after some sloppiness in the field. His standards are high as West Indies were dismissed for 189 in 39.5 overs.
"There's a long way to go yet," Ponting said after taking a 1-0 lead in the five-match series. "We know West Indies are a pretty good one-day side. We've got a couple of days to travel to Grenada and make sure we're ready to go on Friday."
Chris Gayle, who is confident the team will bounce back in the second game, felt the total was achievable. "We didn't utilise the wicket well, it was a pretty decent wicket to bat on, but it was unfortunate that we lost wickets at crucial times," he said. "We didn't get any partnerships going and it's going to be difficult once you're not getting partnerships."
The squad is suffering from injuries to key men - Gayle and Ramnaresh Sarwan played with groin complaints while Shivnarine Chanderpaul missed the match - and the team management is looking at its options for the rest of the series. "It's up to the individual if he can manage [with the problem], but at the same time we want 100% out in the middle," he said. "It is something we have to discuss."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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