Shaun Marsh hits century in inter-squad trial

1468542811702Shaun Marsh has sent a reminder to selectors that he’s capable of filling opener David Warner’s boots if the Australian vice-captain isn’t fit to take on Sri Lanka in the first cricket Test.

Marsh was retired on 100 on the opening day of a two-day inter-squad match in Colombo on Thursday, against a bowling attack that included Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon.

With the first Test in Kandy starting on July 26, Warner is racing against time to recover from a broken thumb and has been facing slower bowlers in the nets using only one hand in recent days.

However Marsh, who has regularly found himself in and out of the side, will be desperate to regain a spot after he was dropped last summer despite scoring 182 in his last Test against the West Indies.

“It’s just nice to get out there and get my feet moving and hit a few balls in the middle and get a bit of a rust out,” said Marsh, who is also recovering from a back injury.

Marsh made his debut on Australia’s most recent tour of Sri Lanka back in 2011, scoring 141 in his first Test – in Kandy – before backing it up with a half-century in his second.

“It’s completely different conditions to back home,” he said.

“Spin will come into play over here so you’ve got to get used to that and have a really solid game plan in place.”

Marsh’s brother Mitchell also found form with the bat, scoring 77 not out, while captain Steve Smith was also retired after passing his century.

Meanwhile Mitchell Starc’s return to long-form cricket from an ankle injury appeared to go to plan, claiming 3-50 from 17 overs.

Of more concern to Australian coaches though will be the bowling of Nathan Lyon, who went for 0-110 from his 20 overs.

Lyon is one of the few Australian spinners to have found success on sub-continental wickets, having taken 5-34 on debut in Sri Lanka five years ago. (Courtesy The Age)