Century in first warm-up makes Shaun Marsh a perfect replacement for Warner
Century in first warm-up makes Shaun Marsh a perfect replacement for Warner

Looks like Shaun Marsh has straight away issued a timely reminder to the Australian selectors as he continued his stunning form in Sri Lankan conditions during Australia’s two-day inter-squad practice match in Colombo on Thursday (July 14).

On the first day of the match, the 33-year-old after showcasing some sweetly timed strokes retired on 100 against a bowling attack which included Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, and Nathan Lyon.

Australia’s batting order at the moment seems stable with all positions perfectly suited but David Warner, Australia’s opener, is facing a race against time to regain full fitness for the opening Test starting on July 26 as he still recovering from a broken thumb.

Despite playing only 17 Tests since his debut in the game’s longest format some five years ago, Marsh hasn’t been able to settle in Australia’s batting order having tested in every position in the top five. It’s true that he couldn’t lock down a spot but at the same time, it displays his flexibility as a batsman.

So far, Marsh is on standby for Warner although the West Australian admitted he is not thinking about his Test candidacy. “(I) don’t look too far ahead, it’s good to get out there (in the middle) but I’m sure Davey (Warner) will be back by July 26,” Marsh said on Thursday.

Marsh’s career has been dogged down by inconsistencies and injuries but was in exceptional form in his last Test when he scored a career-high 182 against West Indies in Hobart last December.

Despite a not so good-looking Test career, Marsh has fond memories of Sri Lanka as he scored a century on Test debut in Kandy five years ago. He also starred as a 16-year-old at the 2000 Under-19 World Cup played in the island nation.

“It is (Sri Lanka) a lovely place to play cricket and I have some good memories playing here in 2011 and I think all the boys are looking forward to playing against a really good opposition in their backyard,” he said. “It’s a really good challenge, completely different to back home…spin will come into the game here and you have to have a really solid game plan in place.

“It’s just nice to get out there and get my feet moving and hit a few balls in the middle and get a bit of rust out,” Marsh added.

Meanwhile, Marsh’s brother Mitchell, smashed a 77 not out, while captain Steve Smith also retired after passing his century. In the bowling department, Starc picked up 3 for 50 from 17 overs but spinner Nathan Lyon struggled during his 20 overs finishing with a frustrating figure of 0 for 110.

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