Magellan Ashes 2017-18
Marsh silences critics with maiden Test ton
Allrounder Mitchell Marsh justified his recall to the Australia team with a brilliant century on his home turf
Sam Ferris at the WACA Ground
16 December 2017, 05:56 PM AEST
It was fitting that in the final Ashes Test match at the iconic WACA Ground a hometown hero in Mitchell Marsh would score his maiden Test match century.
Marsh plundered England's attack to all parts of Perth on Saturday to register a brilliant century, the first of his career in his 22nd Test match.
His 131-ball knock included 17 thunderous fours, each powerful drive drawing awe from the 20,000-strong crowd full of his friends and family.
Marsh passed his elder brother Shaun as he walked to the crease at the loss of the fourth wicket and the score at 248.
He barely put a foot wrong as he motored to his half-century from 75 balls with seven thumping boundaries.
In the final 30 minutes of the afternoon session he passed his previous Test high score, the 87 he scored in just his second match against Pakistan three years ago in Abu Dhabi.
A square drive on the cusp of tea brought up his three figures, and before the ball hit the boundary rope he had his helmet off, arms aloft and bat pointing to his teammates and brother in the changeroom and father Geoff in the stands.
He walked off for tea to a standing ovation having put on 173 runs with his captain Steve Smith and Australia into the lead of the second Magellan Ashes Test.
Marsh was recalled to the squad in place of Victorian batsman Peter Handscomb, primarily to bat at No.6 but also provide relief for the Australia quicks with his right-arm seam bowling.
It had been nine months since Marsh pulled on the Baggy Green after he was sent home from the Border-Gavaskar Trophy Series in India with a shoulder injury that required surgery.
The 26-year-old started bowling nine weeks ago but has bowled just 22 overs in the JLT Sheffield Shield this summer for Western Australia.
While he might have been light on overs and wickets, the hard-hitting right-hander has been a heavy scorer for the Warriors in both 50-over and four-day cricket.
In the JLT One-Day Cup, he averaged a whopping 169 as captain of WA's title-winning campaign before scoring 402 runs at 72 in the Shield competition, including his first century since March, 2011, with 141 against Queensland in Perth.
With the WACA pitch expected to again favour batting as it has done in recent years, Marsh's ability with ball to help lighten the workload of Australia's specialist fast bowlers earned him the selection nod.
Speaking on the eve of the Test, skipper Smith said the most notable difference in Marsh's batting has been a tightening up of his defence.
"I know speaking to him when he was back in the team a little while ago, we spoke about softening your hands up in defence and those good-length balls not going so hard at them," Smith said.
"I've seen that watching him the last couple of days in the nets and watching some of the live feed of the Shield games that in defence he has softened his hands up.
"He's still putting away the bad ball. He hits the ball as hard as anyone I've seen, he's a strong lad.
"He still has that positive intent (to) cash in on loose bowling.
"But good balls, you're allowed to defend them.
"It was just about finding that defence that worked for him and I think he's tightened up a lot in defence."
2017-18 International Fixtures
Magellan Ashes Series
Australia Test squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Cameron Bancroft, Usman Khawaja, Peter Handscomb, Shaun Marsh, Mitchell 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.
First Test Australia won by 10 wickets. Scorecard
Second Test Australia won by 120 runs (Day-Night). Scorecard
Third Test WACA Ground, December 14-18. Tickets
Fourth Test MCG, December 26-30. Tickets
Fifth Test SCG, January 4-8 (Pink Test). Tickets
Gillette ODI Series v England
First ODI MCG, January 14. Tickets
Second ODI Gabba, January 19. Tickets
Third ODI SCG, January 21. Tickets
Fourth ODI Adelaide Oval, January 26. Tickets
Fifth ODI Perth Stadium, January 28. Tickets
Prime Minister's XI
PM's XI v England Manuka Oval, February 2. Tickets
Gillette T20 trans-Tasman Tri-Series
First T20I Australia v NZ, SCG, February 3. Tickets
Second T20I – Australia v England, Blundstone Arena, February 7. Tickets
Third T20I – Australia v England, MCG, February 10. Tickets
Fourth T20I – NZ v England, Wellington, February 14
Fifth T20I – NZ v Australia, Eden Park, February 16
Sixth T20I – NZ v England, Seddon Park, February 18
Final – TBC, Eden Park, February 21