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Injured Marsh out of series as Indians revel in Bangalore banter


The much-maligned career of Mitch Marsh has hit another snag, with the Australia allrounder returning home from India because of a shoulder injury.

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Marsh, who had been nursing the niggle since summer, will play no further part in the four-Test series that is level at 1-1. Marcus Stoinis will replace him in the 16-man touring party.

The 25-year-old was unable to bowl at full pace during the recent match in Bangalore. Marsh will consult specialists in Australia.

Stoinis, who smashed a memorable ODI century in Auckland last month, could make his Test debut next Thursday when the series continues in Ranchi.

However, there is every chance Stoinis will be restricted to drinks duty for the remaining two Tests.

Selectors will strongly consider including Glenn Maxwell or Ashton Agar in the XI as a spinning allrounder, likewise the prospect of beefing up the batting order with Usman Khawaja.

“You could go either way really,” coach Darren Lehmann said on Wednesday.

“You could go with the extra spinner … we talked about that before the first Test.

“We’ll have a look at the wicket and work out what we do.”

Team medicos were confident at the start of the year they could manage Marsh’s troublesome shoulder throughout a demanding trip to the subcontinent.

He was among the first group to land in Dubai for a pre-tour training camp, having been ruled out of ODI series against Pakistan (home) and New Zealand (away).

Marsh took the new ball and scored 75 during the side’s only tour game in India. A patient second-innings 31 in the series-opening boilover on a raging turner was among the most important and impressive knocks of his career.

But the West Australian managed a total of 13 runs in the ensuing clash, leaving him with the lowest Test average of a No.6 batsman to have played at least 20 Tests.

“I thought he played really well in the second innings in Pune,” Lehmann said.

“No (it wasn’t a gamble to select Marsh given his injury)… it was fine when he got here but it’s gotten worse.

“It’s unlucky for Mitch and we move to whoever the next person who comes in. Whether we go with Usman Khawaja or Glenn Maxwell or whoever.”

Meanwhile, the International Cricket Council has shouldered arms in response to every send-off, run-in, accusation, antagonistic act and misdeed that occurred in Bangalore, refusing to charge a single player involved in the spiteful second Test.

Umpires Richard Illingworth and Nigel Llong struggled to control various spotfires during the game, with opposing captains Virat Kohli and Steve Smith at frequent loggerheads.

But the ICC has formally backed match referee Chris Broad’s decision not to level any charges. That is likely to mean there will be no shortage of rancour in Ranchi, where the series continues.

The only carrot or stick being waved at players in an effort to ensure there is less aggression and confrontation next time is a pre-match captains’ meeting with Richie Richardson, who is replacing Broad as match referee for the third and fourth Tests.

“We would encourage both teams to focus their energies on the third Test in Ranchi next week,” ICC chief executive David Richardson said.

“Ahead of that, the match referee will bring both captains together to remind them of their responsibilities to the game.

“We have just witnessed a magnificent game of Test cricket where players from both teams gave their all and emotions were running high during and after the match.”

Whenever Warner walks into bat, Ashwin is always happy

Smith illegally looked towards the changeroom for advice on whether or not to review an lbw dismissal on day four, contritely calling it a “brain fade”. Kohli stormed across the pitch and confronted Smith at the time.

Kohli sensationally accused Australia of systematically cheating with regards to the Decision Review System. The unsubstantiated claims were branded “outrageous” by Cricket Australia chief James Sutherland.

The firebrand also straddled the line of dissent after a failed review in his second innings.

Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara, who has since boasted about sledging David Warner, also targeted many batsmen with non-stop antagonistic verbals. Both umpires repeatedly talked to Kohli, but tensions never simmered.

Mitchell Starc both delivered and received a send-off, while Ajinkya Rahane, Ravichandran Ashwin and Steve O’Keefe were all rebuked by officials during the contest.

“They were talking a lot and probably sledging is something which, as a unit, we felt that we can give them back,” Pujara said in a video on the website of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

“They were always under pressure when they walk into bat. I wanted to make sure their batsmen are thinking about it.

“Especially David Warner. Whenever he walks into bat, Ash (Ashwin) is always happy.

“So I always keep reminding him that Ash is the one (bowler who has dismissed Warner more than any other in Tests).”

India's Ravichandran Ashwin, right, celebrates with teammates the dismissal of Australia's David Warner, second right, during the fourth day of their second test cricket match in Bangalore, India, Tuesday, March 7, 2017. (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)

Ravichandran Ashwin dismisses David Warner in his failed second innings run chase. Photo: Aijaz Rahi / AP

Ashwin, who removed Warner twice in a match haul of 8-125, boasted “when you have the edge on somebody and you have the sword on somebody, it just makes it that much easier”.

“There was a lot of banter on the second day because we had to come back. We had to pump ourselves up,” the top-ranked Test bowler said.

“They were having a lot of chat on the park when we were actually going out to bat and we were down (on day one).

“It’s very easy to have a chat when you’re down. I told (Australian opener) Matt Renshaw when he was batting in the first innings that if they didn’t score big, I’ll have them for soup and dessert.

“I was very happy it happened.”

The video continued India’s post-Test attack on Smith, with Ashwin likening the Australian skipper’s conduct to that expected at under-10 level.

“Steven Smith actually turned back and actually asked the dressing room if he could take a review,” Ashwin said in the interview recorded at M Chinnaswamy Stadium following India’s 75-run victory.

“That is completely unheard of. The last time I thought that would happen was in an under-10 game, when my coach used to suggest where point fielders and cover fielders used to stand.

“I’ve got a lot of respect for Steven Smith, but that was very, very surprising.”

In last year’s Indian Premier League, Ashwin played alongside Smith and Peter Handscomb, the non-striker who told his captain, illegally, to seek advice from the change room.


Test record: 80 runs at 13.33, 7 wickets at 38.71
First-class record: 2772 runs at 39.60, 56 wickets at 40.98
Why: The leading contender should selectors opt for a spinning allrounder. Maxwell has the potential to produce exactly the sort of game-breaking knock that Michell Starc did in Pune.
Why not: Wasn’t give much of a bowl in Australia’s only tour game. Steve Smith may not believe he offers enough variety in an attack alongside fellow offspinner Nathan Lyon.

Test record: 1726 runs at 47.94
First-class record: 7402 runs at 43.79
Why: Australia’s batsmen struggled to score freely in either innings during the second Test. Marsh delivered just five overs in the match, so selectors may decide to stray again from their desire to keep an allrounder in the XI.
Why not: Was dropped during a 3-0 series loss in Sri Lanka last year because of his problems facing spin bowling. Selectors may still harbour concerns about how he’ll far against the world’s two best tweakers.

Test record: N/A
First-class record: 2315 runs at 34.55, 32 wickets at 47.90
Why: Selectors were rightly impressed with Stoinis’ clean striking in an unbeaten knock of 146 during an ODI in Auckland last month. Has worked on his medium-pacers during the past year.
Why not: Red-ball form is not crash hot, having scored 172 runs at 15.63 in the current Sheffield Shield season. Has limited subcontinent experience.

Test record: 130 runs at 32.5, 2 wickets at 124
First-class record: 1453 runs at 26.41, 114 wickets at 40.24
Why: Has impressed in the nets during the tour and was in the mix for a call-up on a raging turner in Pune. Toured India with Australia A and generally gets more bounce than fellow left-arm spinner Steve O’Keefe.
Why not: Selectors may worry more about batting than bowling while mulling Marsh’s replacement, especially after the second Test ended in a collapse of 6-11.


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