Marsh stakes Ashes claim


Published: Wednesday 1st July 2015 by The News Editor

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Australia all-rounder Mitchell Marsh staked his claim for an Ashes berth with an unbeaten 136 against Essex in Chelmsford, where captain Michael Clarke was out for a golden duck.

The tourists finished the day at 440 for six but there was bad news for p ace bowler Ryan Harris, however, as he faces an anxious wait to discover whether a knee problem will rule him out of contention for the opening Ashes Test in Cardiff on July 8.

The 35-year-old from New South Wales struggled with soreness following the first tour match in Kent last week, and was a late withdrawal from the starting XI at the Essex County Ground on Wednesday, replaced by Peter Siddle.

While Harris – who under went major surgery on his right knee last year and missed the West Indies tour as he rehabilitated – now looks a major doubt for Sophia Gardens as Cricket Australia await the results of scans, Marsh did his hopes no harm at all with another superb knock, which included 15 boundaries and five sixes following on from where he had left off in Canterbury.

Fellow all-rounder Shane Watson also scored a rapid half-century and will hope to also get a chance to make an impact with the ball, although rain is forecast for Thursday.

Skipper Clarke, however, had a day to forget when he was dismissed first delivery from youngster Tom Moore, caught at leg gully.

Essex captain Ravi Bopara had won the toss and predictably took to the field, where temperatures were expected to hit some 34 Degrees.

Opener David Warner, recalled after sitting out the first tour match, wasted little time in helping the total along past 50 on a fine batting surface.

Chris Rogers, looking to cement his place at number two ahead of Shaun Marsh, offered solid support at 21 before he was caught behind with a thin edge off James Foster.

Captain Clark, batting number three with Steve Smith rested, was then sent swiftly back to the pavilion without troubling the scorers when caught acrobatically by Ryan ten Doeschate off Moore, the 23-year-old who has only played four career first-class matches.

Australia were 60 for two. The tourists, however, soon built some momentum again.

Australia brought up the hundred before Essex struck again just before lunch when Warner, on 94, pushed a delivery from Jamie Porter out to Bopara at third slip.

The tourists were 132 for three, Warner’s 86-ball innings included 15 fours. By lunch the total had been edged on to 135 without further loss.

Some welcome cloud cover came over the Essex County Ground for the start of the afternoon session and Watson went on to establish a rapid half-century. He was then bowled by Ten Doeschate for 52, chopping a length ball down onto his stumps, with Australia at 204 for four.

As the baking sun returned mid-session, Australia lost their fifth wicket at 254 when Adam Voges was run-out for 49 after a mix-up with Marsh.

By tea, Australia reached 275 without further loss.

Marsh’s half-century soon followed at the start of the evening session, coming off 63 balls with nine boundaries.

Reserve wicket-keeper Peter Nevill supported well with a 50 of his own, before Marsh hoisted Aron Nijjar for a huge six to bring up his century off 118 deliveries.

In the final over of the day, Nevill was caught by substitute Saf Imtiaz on 78.

Moore finished the day with two wickets for 50 from 14 overs, including two maidens.

Published: Wednesday 1st July 2015 by The News Editor

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