Before this week, Geoff Marsh had seen both sides of a Test debut. His son Shaun scored 141 during his first match for Australia in Sri Lanka in 2011. Geoff himself had managed 5 and 2 not out in his first match in the baggy green, against India in Adelaide in 1985. Last week, second son Mitchell fitted somewhere in between, scoring 27 and 3.

For the second time in just over three years, Geoff was on hand to present a baggy green to one of his sons, this time the allrounder chosen to replace the injured Shane Watson against Pakistan in the UAE. Mitchell Marsh said it was a dream come true to have his father out on the ground in Dubai to welcome him into the ranks of Australian Test cricketers.

"That was pretty special. I'll never forget that moment," Mitchell said. "Dad was a little bit less nervous this time after doing it for Shaun. It's a pretty special memory and also to have my mum and my girlfriend and my sister and her fiance out on the ground with me, for Cricket Australia to be able to organise that, it was something they'll never forget too. It was a really special day."

At only 23 he is comfortably the youngest member of the Marsh family to debut for Australia and his all-round talents suggest he may go closer to his father's tally of 50 Tests than his brother's current mark of nine. In the first innings, Marsh showed signs with the bat that he had the confidence for Test level, although going wicketless and being part of a 221-run loss was hardly what he wanted from his debut.

"It was a tough initiation but it was good fun," he said. "The cricket itself was a big step-up. But I've been told by a lot of people that the biggest thing about Test cricket is more just the outside pressures than the pressure of the actual match. The intensity of that was a big step-up but I really enjoyed that challenge. It wasn't a great start to have a loss but we have a chance to bounce back.

"I would have liked a few more runs and a few more wickets. I felt comfortable. It was nice to get off the mark. That was the big thing I wanted to do. With the ball I did my role. I held up an end while the main bowlers were doing their job. But I'm looking forward, if I play the next game, it's going to be a great challenge."

Although he batted in the top six in Dubai, a key role for Marsh in this series was to be the fifth bowler and provide some respite for the frontline fast men Mitchell Johnson and Peter Siddle. Although he was unable to create any real chances during his 24 overs across the match, Marsh said bowling in such unfamiliar conditions on a slow pitch was a learning experience.

"That was probably the biggest challenge, just trying to get a bit of natural variation, using the crease, all those sorts of things," he said. "For someone who has always bowled on the WACA, it's just great learning to be able to do that. Hopefully as a bowling group we'll be better next Test and take a few more wickets.

"On these sorts of wickets it's all about using the crease and natural variation, slower ball, working on different things like that, the eyelines of the batsmen and letting the bowlers use the crease. It's always in the back of your mind to make just a subtle change. That's the big thing."

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @brydoncoverdale