Leeds [UK], July 7 (ANI): Following his fantastic third century during the third Ashes Test against England, Australian all-rounder Mitchell Marsh said that he was looking forward for wearing the prestigious ‘Baggy Green’ (Australian Test cap) one more time and it felt great being back to the team.
Before this, Marsh last played a Test in September 2019. In his absence, Cameron Green emerged as a big all-rounder option for Australia, but despite that, Marsh kept hoping. He finally got another chance at Headingley and came out to bat when Australia was 85/4, with his third Test ton, which have all come in Ashes matches, Marsh took Australia to a respectable total.
“This thing,” Marsh said as quoted by ESPNCricinfo, pointing to his Test cap.
“I wanted to wear it one more time and put it on again. There are always times when you spend a lot of time away from the game when you think that you might not get back. It has taken a lot of hard work.”
“Really proud to be able to get back in this team. I feel a part of the squad even though I have not played a lot of Test cricket over the last couple of years. And I think that is a testament to our leadership. That is why we have had a lot of guys come in and contribute at different times and certain guys play unbelievably well,” he concluded.
Marsh had his eyes on an Ashes tour and he missed out the last Australian season to get his ankle injury treated and gain complete fitness for it.
“Ashes cricket is always something as a young kid you want to play in. Coming in for lunch today [it] was probably some of the toughest conditions I have come in, in my Test career so far. Really proud of the work that I have done mentally to be able to overcome nerves and get into the contest as quickly as I possibly can. And I think that comes with a bit of age, a bit of growth and probably a bit of time away from the game to work on certain things,” he said.
With Cameron Green becoming an all-format cricket, coming to the Ashes after a full-fledged IPL season with Mumbai Indians, Marsh thought that at some point, the Test side would need him.
“My previous experience on long Test tours is you always get a chance at some stage. Knew that Greeny was a little bit sore two days out, so I started to switch on a bit there. A day before the game… I knew that I was playing so it was nice to have a little bit of time to prepare mentally, for coming back into Test cricket,” he said.
The lively pitch at Headingley helped Marsh feel at home and he could play the strokes he played at home settings in Perth.
“I probably just leaned on my experience of growing up at the WACA against fast bowling,” he said. “Sink or swim from a very early age. I thought it was a great contest between him (Mark Wood) and I,” he added.
“I have done a lot of work on the mental side of my game. People always talk about going out and playing a natural game, which in the Test cauldron, it is not always easy. But today was as natural as it gets for me. I felt like I trusted my defence when I needed to. My technique is not perfect, but I know when I move well enough and make good decisions mentally that I can defend balls and keep good balls out. Outside of that, I am going play my shots and I got rewarded for that today,” he added.
Though many players have their families on tour in England, Marsh’s father Geoff and elder brother Shaun were not there. Shaun though posted on social media showing families joyous celebrations of his century on the day which also marked Shaun’s 40th birthday.
“Dad had just flown back… so he was mid-air when I found out that I was playing,” Marsh said. “But to be honest, I do not think he was missing the 40th. That is much more exciting. All my family and all of our close friends are celebrating there with Shaun so whilst they were not here the video is bloody great,” said Marsh.
On returning in the Test side for another long stint, Marsh remained phlegmatic, saying, “I would not mind going back to my UK holiday to be honest. Greeny can come back in. But we’ll see what happens.”
Coming to the match, England put Australia to bat first and visitors were bundled out for 263 runs in 60.4 overs. Australia slipped to 85/4, but with a 155-run stand for the fifth wicket between Mitchell Marsh (118 in 118 balls, 17 fours and four sixes) and Travis Head (39 in 74 balls), Aussies were back on track. But after the dismissal of these two batters, Australia experienced another collapse and was bundled out for 263 runs.
Wood (5/34) was the pick of the bowlers for England. Chris Woakes (3/73) and Stuart Broad (2/58) also bowled really well.
England ended the day one on 68/3, with Joe Root (19*) and Jonny Bairstow (1*) unbeaten. Zak Crawley (33) played a solid knock but Ben Duckett, and Harry Brook fell for single digits. Pat Cummins took two wickets while Marsh got one. (ANI)
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