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Ashes failure, more than trans-Tasman furore, fuelling Mitch Marsh


If you thought Mitch Marsh was angry on Monday night, you should have seen him in England last year.

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Marsh was a picture of rage in Hamilton, where he was out in controversial fashion as New Zealand claimed an ODI series win.

The fact the allrounder’s dismissal was such a turning point in the topsy-turvy clash highlighted his recent development.

Marsh has been working tirelessly on his batting since the 2015 Ashes, when he claimed Shane Watson’s place in Australia’s Test XI but tallied 48 runs from five digs.

“Obviously I didn’t perform with the bat when I had an opportunity to do so,” Marsh said.

“To play an Ashes series and lose, it creates a fair bit of fire in your belly… it makes you want to perform much better and be around for the next Ashes, because hopefully we’ll be able to get some sort of revenge back on the Poms.”

That will have to wait until the summer of 2017-18.

More pressing is a two-Test series against New Zealand that starts in Wellington on Friday.

It’s no Ashes, but the No.1 Test ranking is up for grabs, raising the standard trans-Tasman tension.

“It’s a nice little carrot dangling there, isn’t it?” Marsh acknowledged.

The 24-year-old will be crucial to Australia’s hopes of snatching it.

Undone in bowling-friendly conditions in England, Marsh knows he must bat smarter and heed the lessons of the team’s failed Ashes campaign.

For Marsh, the most important of those is learning to cope with pressure in Tests.

“I’ll admit I’ve gone into my shell in the past, which isn’t the best way for me to bat,” he said.

“A lot of times pressure is perceived pressure or scoreboard pressure – regardless you’ve got to play your game… I’ve got to stay positive and look to hit the ball.”

The run gluttons at the top of Australia’s order largely prevented Marsh from doing much with the bat in the whites this summer.

However, his recent form in the canary yellow is impressive.

Marsh was arguably Australia’s form player in their recent 2-1 ODI series loss in NZ, with pressure-laden knocks of 69 not out and 41 particularly impressive.

They followed his maiden ODI century, which came against India a tick over a fortnight ago.

“I’m just finding out what works and doesn’t work for me – both on and off the field,” Marsh explained.

“Gaining experience at this level is crucial.”

Marsh’s state captain Adam Voges believes he knows how to get the best out of the young star.

“He’s at his best when he’s looking to score and take the bowling on. He’s big and strong and he can hit the ball very hard,” Voges said earlier this summer.

“I’ve seen him play some terrific innings in first-class cricket for Western Australia… I’m sure he’ll transfer that to the Test arena, he’s just got to keep backing himself.”


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