Mitchell Marsh – from the wilderness to England’s nightmare

David Lord Columnist

By David Lord, David Lord is a Roar Expert

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    Nobody, including Mitchell Marsh and the Australian selectors, could have possibly predicted the 26-year-old’s stunning return to Test cricket.

    Having been dumped from the Test side nine months ago after just one half-century in his last 32 digs, Marsh underwent shoulder surgery.

    He only started bowling again three weeks ago, nonetheless the selectors gave him the nod instead of Peter Handscomb for this WACA Ashes Test.

    When Mitchell replaced older brother Shaun yesterday, Australia was 4-248, chasing England’s 403.

    The England attack could sense another quick wicket to get into the tail, but Mitchell Marsh had other ideas.

    When play resumes this afternoon on day four, Marsh will be on a career high 181 not out, his first Test ton. His skipper Steve Smith will be on a career high 229, a second double ton, and Australia 4-549.

    They have put on a record and unbroken 301 for the fifth wicket, a testimony to their patience, and powerful strokeplay in finding the gaps on a lightning fast outfield.

    It was a stunning combination, but to England’s credit they never tossed in the towel, spending all day chasing down boundaries – Marsh cracked 29 of them Smith 28 with a six.

    It’s timely to remind Roarers England is the third best Test nation in the world behind India and South Africa, while Australia is ranked fifth.

    England is missing the suspended Ben Stokes, but more than likely he would have suffered the same fate yesterday with Smith and Marsh in such total control.

    But there was even more caviar to the domination.

    The Mitchell century completed the Marsh father and two sons record as proud owners of Test tons – the only Australian trio to achieve the feat, and only the second in 140 years of Test cricket.

    Father Geoff wore the baggy green for 50 Tests from 1985 to 1992, posting four Test tons, with 138 his top score.

    Shaun is playing his 26th Test since 2011 when he debuted with 141 against Sri Lanka, and his top score among five centuries is 182 against the Windies in Hobart.

    Mitchell debuted in 2014, and after yesterday’s heroics will be a regular for some time.

    Mitch Marsh

    (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

    The only other father and two sons Test centurians are the Armanath family from India.

    Father Lala played 24 Tests from 1933 to 1952, scoring just the one ton of 118 on debut against England at Mumbai.

    His two sons are Mohinder, and Surinder.

    Mohinder scored 11 Test tons between 1969 and 1988 in 69 Tests, with 138 his top score, while Surinder scored his single century 124 on debut against the Kiwis in 1976 among his ten caps.

    While Mitchell Marsh’s comeback deserves full praise, the deeds of Steve Smith demand further attention.

    Apart from Don Bradman, who scored 29 Test tons, and 13 half-centuries, Smith is the only other batsman in world cricket to have scored more tons than half-centuries.

    Yesterday’s all day marathon took him to 22 Test tons, and 21 half-centuries.

    So how does that compare with the greatest run-getters in Test history?

    Sachin Tendulkar scored 51 Test tons, and 68 half-centuries.
    Ricky Ponting – 41 – 62.
    Jacques Kallis – 45 – 58.
    Rahul Dravid – 36 – 63.
    Brian Lara – 34 – 48.
    Kumar Sangakkara – 38 -52.
    Shivnarine Chanderpaul – 30 – 66.
    And Mahela Jayawardene – 34 – 50.

    And how does Steve Smith’s 22 Test tons compare with the fastest in Test history?

    The Don took just 58 digs to achieve the feat.
    Sunil Gavaskar – 101.
    Steve Smith – 108.
    Sachin Tendulkar – 114.
    Mohammad Yousuf – 121.
    And Walter Hammond – 127.

    But back to today.

    With a lead of 146, and heavy rain forecast for tonight, Smith could well contemplate declaring before the start of play.

    Australia can’t lose whichever way Smith decides, but if they can make early inroads and the overnight rain doesn’t affect the final day, the Ashes will be back on Australian soil by tomorrow night.

    David Lord
    David Lord

    David Lord was deeply involved in two of the biggest sporting stories - World Series Cricket in 1977 and professional rugby in 1983. After managing Jeff Thomson and Viv Richards during WSC, in 1983 David signed 208 of the best rugby players from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France to play an international pro circuit. The concept didn?t get off the ground, but it did force the IRB to get cracking and bring in the World Rugby Cup, now one of the world?s great sporting spectacles

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    The Crowd Says (20)

    • December 17th 2017 @ 6:21am
      Mike from tari said | December 17th 2017 @ 6:21am | ! Report

      Have to wait for a couple of more tests before Mitchell Marsh fully redeems himself as a regular, when he came in the pitch was as flat as week old beer.

      • Columnist

        December 17th 2017 @ 7:56am
        David Lord said | December 17th 2017 @ 7:56am | ! Report

        Fair call Mike, but hopefully Mitchell has gained enough belief in himself to be more consistent, and a major plus for the baggy greens.

        Failing that, it will take a string of low scores before the selectors will even give a second thought to dumping him again.

    • December 17th 2017 @ 8:48am
      Don Freo said | December 17th 2017 @ 8:48am | ! Report

      Do you read nothing? Anyone who has watched State cricket this season could have predicted that, David.

      From your comments over the years, especially your disdain for Glenn Maxwell and the Marshes, it is clear you don’t follow State cricket. That probably qualifies you as the ‘no one’ that wouldn’t have predicted success.

      On the silly headline, he has not been in any ‘wilderness’. He is WA’s captain.

      • Columnist

        December 17th 2017 @ 9:22am
        David Lord said | December 17th 2017 @ 9:22am | ! Report

        Bad call Don Freo, being successful at Sheffield Shield level is no guarantee any batsman will be just as successful at Test level.

        Take John Inverarity who played 223 Shield games to average 35.90 with the bat, including 26 centuries, and 60 half-centuries, but averaged only 17.40 with one half-century in Tests.

        Better still, take Jamie Siddons who played 160 Shield games to average 44.91 with 35 tons, and 52 half-centuries, but selectors never gave him a chance at Test level.

        Care to explain that to someone who according to you doesn’t take any notice of Shied cricket?

        • December 17th 2017 @ 10:58am
          Andrew Browne said | December 17th 2017 @ 10:58am | ! Report

          Siddon should have been given a go. Was he not from NSW?

          • December 17th 2017 @ 11:13am
            Dave_S said | December 17th 2017 @ 11:13am | ! Report

            To be fair, there were a few decent bats around Aus cricket at the time. He would probably have played at least a few tests in the present era.

        • December 17th 2017 @ 11:11am
          Dave_S said | December 17th 2017 @ 11:11am | ! Report

          True, state cricket success doesn’t guarantee test success. Not sure how Siddons’ case proves the point, though …

        • December 17th 2017 @ 11:19am
          shiftyxr said | December 17th 2017 @ 11:19am | ! Report

          Google?

        • December 17th 2017 @ 2:22pm
          Don Freo said | December 17th 2017 @ 2:22pm | ! Report

          Not a bad call at all. As always, you are locked into a past which is embellished by your imagination.

          Sport always operates best when form drives selection.

          You can pretend Marsh is not in form but, guess what? He is!!

        • December 17th 2017 @ 2:23pm
          Don Freo said | December 17th 2017 @ 2:23pm | ! Report

          Siddons played well after Inver’s Test career. What a weird connection.

    • December 17th 2017 @ 8:51am
      Rob JM said | December 17th 2017 @ 8:51am | ! Report

      Virat Kohli has 20 centuries to 15 half centuries along with 6 doubles, he didn’t play the start of his career as a leg spinner though.

      • December 17th 2017 @ 9:01am
        Rob JM said | December 17th 2017 @ 9:01am | ! Report

        Since Smith was recalled (as a batsman) in 2013 he has average 66.6!

      • Columnist

        December 17th 2017 @ 9:31am
        David Lord said | December 17th 2017 @ 9:31am | ! Report

        I’ve compared Steve with the top eight Test run-getters in history.

        • Roar Guru

          December 17th 2017 @ 10:20am
          Chris Kettlewell said | December 17th 2017 @ 10:20am | ! Report

          No David, you stated:
          Apart from Don Bradman, who scored 29 Test tons, and 13 half-centuries, Smith is the only other batsman in world cricket to have scored more tons than half-centuries.

          And Don isn’t even in that “top 8”. Sure, the comparison list you gave was just the top 8. But you made the clear statement that apart from the Don (who isn’t in the top 8) Smith (who isn’t in the top 8 yet) is the ONLY OTHER BATSMAN IN WORLD CRICKET to have scored more tons than half centuries.

          • December 17th 2017 @ 5:53pm
            HB said | December 17th 2017 @ 5:53pm | ! Report

            Yes, there are several other batsman who have scored more test 100s than 50s. Lord’s articles often contain mistakes like these.

      • Roar Guru

        December 17th 2017 @ 10:17am
        Chris Kettlewell said | December 17th 2017 @ 10:17am | ! Report

        Yeah, that was my first reaction too. Don’t know where David’s making up his stats from. Pretty sure there are plenty of others. That includes Matt Hayden who had 30 centuries and 29 50’s. Adam Voges had 5 hundreds and 4 50’s. Michael Clarke had 28 hundreds and 27 50’s.

        And that’s just from my personal memory coming up with some I was pretty sure were like that and then looking them up to check. If you actually worked out how to use StatsGuru to check for any players who match that criteria I’m sure it would be a pretty long list. It would be rather baffling if it weren’t for the fact that it seems common for David Lord to write stories where he includes made up statistical conclusions that are just way off like that!

        • Columnist

          December 17th 2017 @ 10:52am
          Brett McKay said | December 17th 2017 @ 10:52am | ! Report

          ABC Grandstand’s Ric Findlay tweeted this list last night:

          Batsmen with more Test 100s than 50s (min 50 Tests):
          Bradman 29/13
          Kohli 20/15
          Azharuddin 22/21
          Smith 22/21
          Clarke 28/27
          Hayden 30/29
          Younis Khan 34/33

    • December 17th 2017 @ 8:51am
      Don Freo said | December 17th 2017 @ 8:51am | ! Report

      David, there are 2 days left.

      • Columnist

        December 17th 2017 @ 9:24am
        David Lord said | December 17th 2017 @ 9:24am | ! Report

        You are having a bad hair day DF, I know there are two days left, read the copy again.

    • December 17th 2017 @ 12:07pm
      Jordan said | December 17th 2017 @ 12:07pm | ! Report

      Didn’t you just pen an article about Mitch March’s selection being the wrong option?

      Atleast make it sporting for us lordy.

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