‘Magnificent’ Marsh rescues Aussies after early collapse

With his side on the ropes, Mitchell Marsh proved once again why he’s gone from zero to hero in the eyes of Australian fans on Thursday, producing a “magnificent” knock against Pakistan.

After an early collapse that saw the hosts reeling at 4-16 in the second innings and the visitors with all the momentum, Marsh dug deep and scored a risky but powerful 96 at the MCG.

It wasn’t always pretty and certainly not without chances – including a horror drop from Abdullah Shafique – but the 32-year-old continued his redemption arc with a trademark blistering knock in the iconic Boxing Day Test.

RECAP: Australia take control on day three

READ MORE: David Warner receives ‘wonderful’ farewell

READ MORE: Storm erupts over ‘disgraceful’ Aussie scheduling

Marsh blasted 13 boundaries throughout the afternoon, before ultimately being dismissed four runs short of a century thanks to an unbelievable catch from Agha Salman.

Once seen as the villain for Aussie fans, Marsh has turned things around in both red-ball and white-ball cricket over the past two years, helping them to Ashes and World Cup success. 

“Mitchell Marsh was booed at this ground five years ago and he’s now warmly applauded off,” commentator Mark Howard said on Fox.

“You can see the big man, normally so full of life and exuberant, with his shoulders slumped. There’s a disbelief around the MCG.”

Despite the silence around the ground in the moments following his dismissal, Marsh received plenty of love from the boisterous fans in Melbourne, who previously voiced their disdain for his presence in the Test arena earlier in his career. 

While the triple-figures alluded him this time around, the fact that Marsh stepped into the cauldron and continued to do things his way will earn him plenty more admirers.

English great Michael Vaughan was full of praise for the right-hander known as ‘The Bison’ for his efforts in the middle.

“What an innings … I’m just staggered that they’ve held a chance, it’s the hardest chance that’s come Pakistan’s way,” he said on Fox.

“In your career, you’re obviously out to score runs and you get a huge amount of respect and confidence from scoring runs when it really matters for the team.

“He’s just getting runs when his team desperately needs them. Look at the situation he walked out today.

“The fall will always be talked about because he didn’t get three figures, but that was a magnificent counter-attacking innings.”

Kerry O’Keeffe also credited Marsh for sticking to his guns, despite the severity of the situation he faced upon arriving at the crease.

“He goes in and plays his way, regardless of the situation … he doesn’t get too complicated – see ball, hit ball,” he said on Fox.

Marsh was well-supported by Steve Smith, who chewed up plenty of rocks before reaching a half-century of his own late in the day, but was dismissed for 50 off 176 just before stumps after a quality piece of short-pitched bowling from Shaheen Shah Afridi.

Earlier, the collapse that rocked the Aussies saw Usman Khawaja and Travis Head both sent packing without troubling the scorers, while Marnus Labuschagne and David Warner only managed single-digits.

Mir Hamza was the clear pick of the bowlers for Pakistan, finishing the day with 3-24 off 15 overs, while Afridi also picked up three poles in a back-and-forth day in Victoria.

Alex Carey and Pat Cummins will resume for Australia on Friday with a lead of 241 and four wickets in hand, with the hosts in clear control and looking primed to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series.

Check Also

Sharks ask Gallen to meet secret US billionaire

Sharks ask Gallen to meet secret US billionaire

NRL great Paul Gallen was asked to meet a secret billionaire while in America as …

Leave a Reply