Marsh makes thunderous dream return at Ashes

Mitch Marsh has celebrated his Test return with a thunderous century at Headingley, before taking a late wicket to leave the third Ashes match in the balance after day one.

Called in for his first Test since the 2019 Ashes after Cameron Green pulled up sore from Lord’s, Marsh hit a-run-a-ball 118 in Australia’s 263 before England were 3-68 at stumps.

Pat Cummins also took two early wickets for Australia, where all 13 wickets fell to quicks and England’s Mark Wood took 5-34 while bowling at speeds of up to 155km/h.

Sent in to bat, Australia were in early trouble at 4-85 in their innings before Marsh made a statement with his 102-ball century.

The West Australian set the tone when he cover-drove Stuart Broad (2-58) to get off the mark and later pulled Wood for six.

Marsh hit 21 boundaries in his knock, driving with incredible power, pulling three sixes high over the legside and belting another one down the ground.

Such was the 31-year-old’s strike power, the usually free-flowing Head was made to look slow look incredibly slow with his 39 from 74 balls.

Marsh went to 99 by whacking Moeen Ali back down the ground for six, and scurried through for a quick single off the next ball to go to reach his third Test century.

“There are always times when you spend a lot of time away from the game where you think that you might not get back to Test level,” Marsh said.

“It’s taken a lot of hard work.

“I chose to have ankle surgery and miss last summer to get on this tour, knowing that I was going to be Greeny’s understudy. Really proud to be able to get back in this team.

“I feel a part of the squad even though I haven’t played a lot of Test cricket over the last couple of years. I feel very much part of it.

“It’s a credit to the leadership. That’s why we’ve had a lot of guys come in and contribute at different times and certain guys play unbelievably well.”

Australia braces for hostile Ashes crowd

The allrounder’s century will immediately pile pressure on selectors to keep him in the team, with Green expected to be fit overcome a minor hamstring strain for the next Test at Old Trafford.

Marsh and Head’s 155-run partnership would also have been of great frustration for the hosts, who had chances to remove Head on nine and Marsh on 12.

But as has been the problem for England all series, it was unable to hold onto the regulation chances with Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root the culprits this time.

Marsh was finally taken when he inside-edged a ball from Chris Woakes (3-73) onto his thigh pad that was caught at second slip, sparking a collapse of 6-23.

Wood was the chief destroyer, taking 4-4 in 14 balls to clean up the tail after earlier clean-bowling Usman Khawaja.

But again England missed the chance to capitalise, when Cummins had

Ben Duckett out trying to cut a ball close to his body and also nicked Harry Brook off.

Marsh then capped his day by claiming Zak Crawley’s edge on 33, before Root (19) and Bairstow (1) got through to the close not out for England.

“The game is pretty evenly poised, one or two wickets tomorrow and we’re right in it,” Marsh said.

The hosts must win this Test to stay in the Ashes.

A draw for Australia will retain the urn and a victory secure their first series success in England since 2001.


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