Veteran batsman Shaun Marsh is among those that Australia are looking at to take the role of opener for their first Test against India, coach Justin Langer said on Friday. Marsh, 37, last played for Australia in an ODI against Sri Lanka in June 2019 and his last Test match was in Sydney against India in January that year. With David Warner ruled out of the first Test and questions hanging over the condition of young Will Pucovski, Marsh’s prolific performances in Australia’s domestic first class tournament have led to him becoming a prospect.
“You never discriminate against age. He’s doing everything possible," Langer told Australian Channel Seven on Friday. “His numbers in Sheffield Shield cricket — not only this year but the back end of last year — were absolutely elite. There’s no more popular player in the Australian cricket team than Shaun, maybe his brother (Mitch) actually." Marsh scored three centuries in his last four matches for Western Australia in the Sheffield Shield. He however has a contender in Marcus Harris, who himself has been in good nick in domestic cricket and played for Australia A in both of their tour matches against India.
“You can imagine I’m very passionate about getting the opening partnership right," said Langer. “I know how important it is to a successful team. We’ll be working through that and hopefully get the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle right for the first test match and beyond next week." Earlier India gained an upperhand over Australia A in the second warm up game.
Pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah headlined the opening day’s play with a maiden first-class fifty and then chipped in with a couple of wickets in an impressive bowling effort putting India in the driver’s seat against Australia in the pink ball warm-up game on Friday. With his unbeaten 55 off 57 balls, Bumrah was the top-scorer for the visitors, who folded for a disappointing 194 in 48.3 overs at the Sydney Cricket Ground. The Indians however came back strongly with the ball to bundle out Australia for 108 at stumps as 20 wickets fell on a curtailed when almost an hour was lost due to heavy rain. India’s four-pronged pace attack did well to intimidate Australian youngsters with short-pitched stuff as Mohammed Shami and Navdeep Saini got three wickets apiece. On a day when the recognised batsmen struggled to put runs on the board, Bumrah, who came into the game with a Test batting average of 2.9, produced a stellar performance with the willow, smashing the ball six times to the fence and twice over it.The 27-year-old, known for his wily bowling, reached his half-century in style, hooking a bouncer by all-rounder Will Sutherland for a huge six over the deep square-leg fence. Bumrah and fellow pacer Mohammed Siraj stitched a valuable 71-run partnership for the 10th wicket before the Indian innings ended with a semblance of respectively.