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Updated December 19th, 2023 at 08:10 IST

After 4 years out of test cricket, allrounder Mitchell Marsh is back in a big way for Australia

Mitchell Marsh, an all-rounder, made a dramatic comeback to form during the Ashes series in July, scoring a century off just balls against England at Headingly, four years after he was discarded from the Australian test team owing to a string of bad performances.

Mitchell Marsh
Mitchell Marsh celebrates with his teammates during the AUS vs PAK match | Image:AP
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Four years after being dropped as a test player for Australia due to a run of poor results, allrounder Mitchell Marsh made a telling return to form with a run-a-ball century against England at Headingly during the Ashes series in July.

His resurgence as a batter — and bowler — continues.

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In the first cricket test against Pakistan in Perth, Marsh scored 90 and 63 not out to be named man of the match in the home side’s 360-run win inside four days . The 32-year-old Marsh also claimed the crucial wicket of former captain and star batter Babar Azam in the first innings to further highlight his overall value to the team.

Marsh was dropped by selectors in December 2018 after a run of 11 innings saw him score single figures seven times -- including two ducks. His highest score during that streak was 45 runs.

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Australia captain Pat Cummins says one key difference in the new-look Marsh is his willingness to play to his strengths, rather than try to imitate the batting style of others.

“I think he’s just got a really clear process at the moment in whatever format it is,” Cummins said. “He knows how to score runs, and you know he doesn’t really care what it looks like.

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“I think in the past you can get caught up in, ‘There’s a template of how you’re meant to play test cricket or supposed to play test cricket and you’ve got to have a good forward defense’. I think Mitch has found a really good game plan.”

Australia has won 15 tests in a row against Pakistan in Australia, and Cummins and Co. will hope to extend that streak in the Boxing Day test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground beginning Dec. 26. It's the second of three in the series, with the third set to start Jan. 4 in Sydney.

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Off-spin bowler Nathan Lyon will enter the MCG match having taken test wicket No. 500 during the win in Perth.

“He’s a star. He’s so good,” Australia batter Marnus Labuschagne said of Lyon, who joined Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath as Australians with 500 test wickets.

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“He’s got a natural ability, very gifted ability of bowling a very good off-spin ball. The amount of revs he gets — it’s almost impossible for anyone else to get that amount of revs . . . that skill alone is almost unteachable.”

Lyon reached the 500-wicket landmark when he successfully went for a leg before wicket referral against Faheem Ashraf and was embraced by his teammates. The off-spinner raised the ball to the applause of the Perth crowd.

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Lyon then clean bowled Aamer Jamal in the same over off a delivery which bounced no higher than ankle height to finish with 2-18 in his memorable test match.

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Published December 19th, 2023 at 08:10 IST

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