Magellan Ashes 2017-18
Marsh added to Australia's Ashes squad
Western Australian's ability to provide back-up for front-line quicks cited as key reason for recall to Test team
6 December 2017, 07:48 PM AEST
Allrounder Mitchell Marsh has been added to Australia's 13-man squad for third Test of the Magellan Ashes series in Perth, where Australia will look to secure the urn.
Marsh comes into the squad in place of South Australian seam bowler Chadd Sayers, who had been included in an initial two-Test squad with a specific view to the Adelaide Test match.
As it turned out, Sayers was not required for the day-night match that Australia won on the fifth afternoon by 120 runs with an unchanged XI from the opening 10-wicket victory in Brisbane.
However, the increasingly batting-friendly surface in Perth has seen selectors plump for a batter who can offer pace back-up to the front-line quicks of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins.
That pace ability gave Marsh the edge over off-spinning allrounder Glenn Maxwell, who is the JLT Sheffield Shield's leading run-scorer, having posted a career-best 278 against NSW and followed up with 96 against Marsh's Western Australia at the MCG this week.
Marsh, who will join his elder brother Shaun in the Test squad, last played a Test on Australia's tour of India and required a full shoulder reconstruction after picking up an injury in the Bengaluru Test.
Out of the Test frame, he was named the WA captain for this summer, and vowed to focus on improving his batting, hitting a century in the JLT One-Day Cup, and an unbeaten 80 in the final against South Australia to help steer his side to the title.
He then returned to bowling earlier than expected in the Warriors' JLT Sheffield Shield game against Queensland at the WACA Ground late last month, the venue for the third Test starting December 14, and took 2-49.
Marsh also scored a century in that match, with 141 in the first innings, following a 95 against South Australia at the WACA in the previous round. He scored 43 and 38 not out in WA's drawn match with Victoria at the MCG this week.
Former Australia quick Jason Gillespie had tipped Marsh's recall on the basis that a fourth bowler who could support the front-line quicks was vital.
"I said after the first two Test matches the Australians will maybe add someone to their squad, possibly an allrounder because they'll feel the surfaces in Perth, Melbourne and Sydney are three very good batting surfaces," Gillespie told Optus Sport's Stumps program before the squad was confirmed.
"And the three big hairy quicks are going to need a little bit of support. So don't be surprised if a Mitchell Marsh or that type player comes into the equation."
Former Australia opener and Stumps co-host Chris Rogers said the change could mean an exit from the side for Peter Handscomb.
"Unfortunately it's going to be Handscomb that will be left out," Rogers said.
"At the start of the season he was pretty secure with his spot, but just looks a little bit off colour at the moment. He doesn't look like the game's as simple as it should be for him.
"It sounds like the most simple thing in batting, but you go forward to full balls and back to short balls, but that's not what Pete is doing at the moment unfortunately."
Handscomb has scores of 14, 36 and 12 in the Magellan Ashes so far, and in his past 10 first-class matches has 498 runs at 27.67.
Rogers' comments echoed those of Australia legend Ricky Ponting, who told cricket.com.au in Adelaide the Victorian's technique was something he had "never seen before".
"You see a lot of people finish in that position after they've pushed back from their front foot onto their back foot and finish six inches from their stumps, but I've never seen anyone start there," Ponting told cricket.com.au
"That, in itself, could mean there's some sort of issue going on. I'm not sure what it might be but batting back there he's trying to give himself as much time as he possibly can.
"If he's always done it and that's the technique he wants to stick with that's fine, but when you see him start moving his feet like he did today; one ball (he was) two feet outside off stump, the next ball outside leg stump, that's going to make batting pretty difficult.
"There's going to be a few things there that need to be changed as far as I'm concerned.
"If he keeps moving around like he does and moving back in front of his stumps it just looks like he's making batting more difficult for himself."
Victoria batsman Maxwell, the JLT Sheffield Shield's leading run-scorer with 590 runs at 73.75 from the five matches before the BBL break, can consider him unlucky to miss out having been added to the squad as cover for Shaun Marsh who had a back issue leading into the Gabba Test. Maxwell hit a career-best 278 against NSW at North Sydney Oval and added another 96 against WA this week.
Tasmania's Jackson Bird has been retained in the Test squad as the first reserve fast bowler, having collected player of the match honours for his seven-wicket haul against the NSW Blues in the Tigers Shield win.
Meanwhile, England coach Trevor Bayliss said it was unlikely there would be any changes to the England XI for the third Test, saying there was "no real need for panic".
"No, I don't think so, I don't think there's any real need to panic. Guys have shown the capabilities they've got, we've just got to find a way to do it for longer," Bayliss told UK broadcaster BT Sport.
Australia squad for third Test: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Cameron Bancroft, Usman Khawaja, Peter Handscomb, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Tim Paine, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon, Jackson Bird
2017-18 International Fixtures
Magellan Ashes Series
Australia Test squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Cameron Bancroft, Usman Khawaja, Peter Handscomb, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Tim Paine (wk), Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood, Jackson Bird.
England Test squad: Joe Root (c), James Anderson (vc), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Gary Ballance, Stuart Broad, Alastair Cook, Mason Crane, Tom Curran, Ben Foakes, Dawid Malan, Craig Overton, Ben Stokes, Mark Stoneman, James Vince, Chris Woakes.
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