Marsh impresses again

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Shaun Marsh compiled another impressive innings on Friday as Australia hit back after a shaky start in the third Test against Sri Lanka in Colombo.
Marsh, who hit 141 on debut in the previous match, held the tourists' innings together with a confident 81 after openers Phillip Hughes and Shane Watson were both dismissed early.
The newcomer's efforts - together with those of Mike Hussey, who remained unbeaten on 63 when bad light brought play to a premature close - enabled Australia to reach 235 for five at the close on day one.
Sri Lanka, who need a win at the SSG to level the series, will be pleased with their efforts but slightly frustrated by their failure to make further inroads after the departures of Hughes and Watson left Australia teetering on 22 for two.
Marsh, surprisingly named at three in the batting order, and former skipper Ricky Ponting, back in the side after missing the Kandy Test to attend the birth of his child, steadied the ship before Hussey punished a tiring attack towards the close.
Suranga Lakmal was the pick of the bowlers with two for 39 while Shaminda Eranga claimed two for 52.


Watson looked uncertain from the off. He survived a leg before wicket appeal from Chanaka Welegedara from the second ball of the morning due to an inside edge but failed to keep out Eranga's first ball in Test cricket.
It was little more than a loosener but Watson pushed sloppily at it and presented Tillakaratne Dilshan a simple catch at backward point.
Hughes had already departed by then, the under-pressure youngster chopping on to his stumps to hand Lakmal the breakthrough.
Ponting took a while to get going and had only six to his name from 26 balls when Sri Lanka unsuccessfully reviewed a not out decision for caught behind off Welegedara.
The veteran hit 10 runs, including successive fours, off the left-armer's next over and there was no more danger as he and Marsh progressed steadily up to lunch as Australia reached 63 for two.
Sri Lanka wasted their second review trying to remove Ponting in the first over after the restart, but Australia started to get on top thereafter - picking up fours at a steady rate.
Lakmal widened his line as Ponting approached a half-century and the Tasmanian eventually took the bait, edging an attempted drive to Prasanna Jayawardene having made 48.
No surprise
Michael Clarke got off the mark after 12 balls but, one glanced boundary off Welegedara aside, the tourists' skipper was far from fluent.
It was no surprise when he eventually departed, to muted celebrations, having made six in 24 balls.
By then Marsh had moved serenely to 50 with a commanding stroke into the onside.
He looked set for successive tons when, having just made it into the 80s, he played for the spin to Rangana Herath and the ball went straight on, knocking back his off stump.
Brad Haddin joined Hussey and looked in good touch as he progressed to 21 not out by stumps.


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