Steve Smith reveals the mystery behind Marsh’s magical spell
A brilliant tactical switch from skipper Steve Smith and some extremely well-placed textbook execution from Mitchell Marsh was behind the all-rounder’s match-winning performance in Australia’s triumph in the ODI tri-series final over West Indies.
Marsh almost single-handedly turned the match at Kensington Oval in Australia’s favour with a five-over burst which snapped the key wickets of Darren Bravo, Marlon Samuels – both century-makers in this series – and opener Johnson Charles for only six runs before Australia pushed on to a sensational 58-run victory.
Captain Steve Smith later revealed how Marsh focused on a patch of dead grass when bowling from the Joel Garner End of the ground and utilized clever changes of pace to upset the rhythm of the Caribbean batsmen.
Marsh had initially bowled two overs from the Malcolm Marshall End, named after Garner’s iconic fast-bowling partner of the 1970s and 1980s, giving just a single from that first spell.
But with the Australians in desperate need of wickets, Smith swung his charge around to the other end for the match-winning spell.
“Mitchell Marsh was outstanding,” Smith said.
“Bowling from that (Garner) end, I found it incredibly hard batting at the (Marshall) end of the ground.
“There was a patch of grass where the ball was doing a few different things. We wanted the right-armers to hit that back of a length, try and get the ball to react differently and I thought the way Mitchell used his variations today was spot on.
“The guys that were a little bit slower and taller were actually getting the ball to respond a bit differently hitting that length and he was a perfect example.
“He hit a beautiful area and let the ball do its thing. He got the ball through at quite good pace at times as well so it was nice to see him in good rhythm.”
Along with intentionally taking pace off the ball, Marsh also bowled with impressive pace in another match winning performance ahead of Australia’s crucial Test series in Sri Lanka starting from next month.
And his fire with the ball perfectly matched his exuberant reactions when he claimed the big wickets of the Windies top order.
“It was one of those nights when you get into a good rhythm,” Marsh said.
“I was a bit more aggressive than I am usually and that’s to do with my role in the team tonight. With James Faulkner missing out I was probably going to bowl a little earlier in the innings.
“As a whole team we were certainly fired up. It was a chance to win a series for our country.”
It happens to be Marsh’s second match-winning performance in the period of five days after he had helped Australia to victory on Wednesday with an impressive innings of 79 not out in their tense run chase against the Windies.
It’s obviously a positive sign for the 24-year-old ahead of the Sri Lanka tour where he is expected to play a key role in Australia’s first series there since 2011.
“He’s come a long way in this series,” Smith said.
“He batted well the other day and I guess he’s just going to gain a lot more confidence from what he did the other day and what he did today as well.”
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