The redemption story of Australia’s Marsh brothers has continued with younger sibling Mitchell posting what he described as a “pretty emotional” maiden Test century against England at the WACA.
Mitchell Marsh belted his way to an unbeaten 181 at stumps on day three of the third Ashes Test, having played his role in a staggering 301-run partnership with Australian captain Steve Smith, who managed his highest Test score of 229, that helped the hosts reach the close of play on 4-549.
Australia leads England by 146 runs, having begun the day 200 behind the tourists, who could only manage to take one wicket on day three.
Shaun Marsh had already marked his return to Australia’s XI with a half-century in Brisbane followed by a century in Adelaide, before Mitchell broke through for his first ton in the five-day game in Perth.
Mitchell, a maligned figure in Australia cricket along with his older brother, spanked a mammoth 29 fours during his 234-ball innings so far, silencing a chorus of critics who questioned his return to the Test squad following the Adelaide fixture.
The 26-year-old showed impressive maturity to bludgeon the struggling England bowling attack, admitting nerves had not been a factor when batting in front of his home crowd at the WACA.
“For some reason I wasn’t really nervous, I was calm my whole innings,” Mitchell Marsh told Grandstand.
“I felt good and Smudger [Smith] kept me going the whole time. I wasn’t really thinking too much, anything wide I was just going to slash at it.”
Perhaps it is too early to suggest Mitchell Marsh will now find the consistency that has been lacking from his Test career so far.
But there were enough learned observers present at the WACA who were left impressed by an improved batting technique, which Mitchell Marsh puts down to his work with retired Western Australia Sheffield Shield player, Scott Meuleman.
Wagon wheel — M.R. Marsh
Australia v England Test Series 2017/2018 – 3rd Test
Meuleman, a family friend, began coaching and advising Marsh earlier this year after he had undergone surgery for the shoulder injury that had forced him out of Australia’s tour of India following the second Test in Bangalore last March.
Mitchell Marsh paid tribute to Meuleman, who he credited for the resumption of his Test career after it had taken on a stop-start flavour across 21 appearances prior to Perth.
“He’s pretty much changed the way I play and the way I defend, the way I think about the game,” he said.
“I was thinking about him when I was batting out there today, how much I would love to give him a call. I can’t wait to give him a call tonight.”
Ashes century a family affair for Marsh
Mitch not only joins brother Shaun as a Test century maker, but also father Geoff, who recorded four tons during his 50-match career, including two against England.
Family is an important part of Mitchell Marsh’s life and he reflected on the significance of making his century in front of his father and also his grandparents.
“It means a lot for me to make a hundred in front of my grandparents at the WACA, they’ve come and watched me every game for the last eight years,” Mitchell Marsh said.
“To have my family here is an amazing feeling, so it’s reward for all the hard work that has gone into the last eight months and I’m just ecstatic.”
Marsh was excited to head to a family barbeque on Saturday evening and said he was looking forward to enjoying “a beer with the old man”.