MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Having spent much of the home summer suffering “pad rash” from waiting to bat, Australia all-rounder Mitchell Marsh has put the pent-up energy to good use when thrown the ball.
With paceman Peter Siddle hampered by an ankle injury, Marsh stepped up to take 4-61 to help close out victory in the second test against West Indies on Tuesday on a Melbourne Cricket Ground pitch offering little for bowlers.
High-fives from team mates were no doubt plentiful in the dressing room, with Marsh having played a big part in preventing them all from having to come back on a fifth day to take care of the West Indies tail.
His fast bowling colleagues and selectors will also have been impressed with the 24-year-old’s pace. The speed gun clocked some of his deliveries at over 140 kph.
Australia coach Darren Lehmann remarked that Marsh could shape as a de facto third seamer for the third and final test at the Sydney Cricket Ground if selectors picked two spinners.
“It’s quite flattering to hear that, but the biggest thing for me is just playing my role,” Marsh told reporters in Melbourne.
“Over the last 18 months I’ve worked really hard with (bowling coach) Craig McDermott to try and get a few extra K’s (kph) on my bowling and certainly over the last few months I’ve felt like I’m just getting a bit faster and faster in every game that I play.
“Obviously the more I bowl the more I’m learning about my body and how far I can go.
“Hopefully I’ve set the tone now for the rest of the summer.”
Having succeeded Shane Watson as Australia’s first-choice all-rounder, Marsh has been more than just a handy option to tie up an end, taking wickets in all five tests of the home summer.
There have been leaner pickings with the bat, though his chances to shine have been limited.
In the first test in Hobart, he waited an eternity for West Indies’ bowlers to break a record 449-run stand between Adam Voges and his brother Shaun Marsh before getting his chance.
He then scored one run before his captain Steve Smith declared.
Another declaration denied him a bat in the first innings in Melbourne, though he scored an unbeaten 18 in the second after Smith generously promoted him up the order.
“I’ve certainly had a bit of pad rash the last couple of games but I play the game to enjoy team success,” said Marsh.
“So if I get an opportunity I’ll be able to take it in the next test but I don’t mind if the blokes keep piling on the runs.”
(Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)