Marsh breakthrough a WACA family affair
An epic day in Perth for the Marsh family was reminiscent of achievements of their famous opening batsman father, Geoff
Sam Ferris at the WACA Ground
16 December 2017, 11:49 PM AEST
In August, 1989, Australia openers Mark Taylor and Geoff Marsh walked off together at stumps on the first day of the fifth Test at Trent Bridge undefeated with the score reading 0-301.
Geoff has a picture of him and Taylor, along with the scorecard, that his sons Shaun and Mitchell grew up looking at, aspiring to be a Test cricketer just like Dad.
On day three of the third Magellan Ashes Test in Perth, a Marsh started the day and was there was a Marsh at the end with more than 300 runs scored to leave England desperate and demoralised.
Shaun started the day but was dismissed for 28, the only wicket to fall on Saturday. As he walked back the dressing room his younger brother by eight years passed him and would not return for good until the close of play that evening with 181 runs next to his name on the old manually operated WACA Ground scoreboard.
Mitchell added 301 with his skipper Steve Smith, the world's best batter who had helped himself to 229 runs, to evoke memories of the Marsh-Taylor partnership from 28 years ago.
On that day in Nottingham, England captain David Gower ordered 12th man Greg Thomas to run up to the press box and ask the reporters covering the match how to get a wicket. Gower had run out of ideas. Joe Root, England's current captain, might as well have done the same on Saturday.
For the best part of 77 overs, Smith and Marsh gave England's bowlers nothing. Not a hint of a chance, not a moment of respite. Smith worked 11 fours, Marsh clobbered 29.
The epic stand quashed any chance England had of winning this Test and delivered Australia a commanding 146-run lead.
Mitchell's knock followed on from brother Shaun's match-winning 126no in Adelaide, justifying his Test recall at the age of 34.
But as little as three months ago the prospect of the Marsh boys playing in a Test together seemed about as distant as Trent Bridge.
Shaun was not picked for the two-Test tour of Bangladesh and looked at long odds of reclaiming his Test spot, while Mitchell was still recovering from shoulder surgery and had not bowled a ball in six months.
"I certainly had moments throughout my shoulder rehab where I thought I wasn't going to get back because it takes a long time," Mitchell said after play.
"And as an athlete whenever you're out it's all about getting back as soon as you can and I had frustrating moments. It's certainly all worth it now."
But through hard work and mountain of runs, both brothers forced the selectors to pick them.
There was no happier person that Mitchell when Shaun scored his maiden Ashes Test century in Adelaide. Not they have one each.
"I'm telling you, (Shaun) didn't think he was ever going to play for Australia again," Mitchell said.
"I remember sitting at his house when he got selected, having a cold beer together, and he was pretty emotional.
"For him to have done what he's done in the last couple of Test matches just goes to show you can't really give up and he's in great form so hopefully he can hold his spot down now for a long time to come."
When Gower's England finally broke through on day two, when Geoff was caught sweeping for 138, the England captain made sure there was a bottle of champagne waiting in the dining room at lunch.
When both teams had sat down to their meal at the major break of the day, Gower raised a glass and celebrated the first Australian wicket, much to the amusement of the entire room including the Australians.
Tonight, Mitchell is going to celebrate his maiden Test century, just in a different way, one that would be right at home in his dad's bar underneath that picture.
"It means a lot to make a hundred with my grandparents watching me at the WACA," Marsh told ABC Grandstand radio after stumps.
"It is reward for all the hard work that has gone into the last eight months.
"I was pretty emotional on the ground I had to hold it together. I will be having a cold beer tonight."
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