With this knock, Mitchell Marsh has strengthened his bid for selection for the 1st Test ahead of Shane Watson © Getty Images
With this knock, Mitchell Marsh has strengthened his bid for selection for the 1st Test ahead of Shane Watson © Getty Images

London: Australia all-rounder Mitchell Marsh strengthened his bid for selection in the Ashes-holders’ side to face England in next week’s first Test by making his second successive hundred of the tour on Wednesday. Marsh, competing with the more experienced Shane Watson for the role of seam-bowling all-rounder, struck an unbeaten 136 against Essex at Chelmsford on the first day of four following his 101 against Kent at Canterbury last week. READ: Australia will need Mitchells to fire to retain urn in England after 14 years

Marsh brought up his latest hundred with a big hit over the River Stand boundary as Australia, sent into bat, reached stumps on 440 for six. The 23-year-old played the last of his four Tests against India at Brisbane in 2014 and will hope to make it a family double next week, with older brother Shaun battling with Chris Rogers for the chance to open alongside David Warner at Cardiff’s Sophia Gardens. READ: Ashes 2015 without sledging will lack flavour

But Marsh, whose opening batsman father Geoff was a member of the victorious Australia team that toured England in 1989, was taking nothing for granted. “It has been a nice start [to the tour, and is great to contribute to this team and hopefully I can continue to do so I am certainly not putting any pressure on myself, at the end of the day it does not matter where you bat or where you bowl, if you take enough wickets and make enough runs, the selectors are going to pick you at some stage. I am just enjoying it, it is a privilege to be on this tour,” he said.

The lively medium-pacer added, “I feel like I am improving with my bowling, and hopefully I am getting up there, so I just have to keep working hard. There is so much history on this tour and if the opportunity does come, then we will go from there. I think I have matured, this is a great team to be around, hopefully I can keep improving. To follow in dad’s footsteps, hopefully I get the chance to play in an Ashes Test, it is what every kid in Australia dreams about, but we will see.”

If anyone had a ‘dream day’ on Wednesday, it was Essex novice Tom Moore, who took two wickets in two balls including dismissing Australia captain Michael Clarke for a golden duck with the aid of a catch at leg gully by Ryan ten Doeschate. Moore, who the ball before had Rogers caught behind by former England wicket-keeper James Foster, told the BBC: “It was amazing, we could not have asked for it to go any better.

“We spoke about it this morning, dreaming big and things like that, and it seemed to work as in my first over I got a double wicket maiden,” added the 23-year-old, appearing in just his fifth first-class match and first this season. For my first game in front of a crowd like this at Chelmsford, with all my friends and family, to get the Aussie captain, it is a bit of a dream come true.”

But Australia ended the day strongly-placed, with Warner (94), reserve wicket-keeper Peter Nevill (78) and Watson (52) all bolstering their total.

Brief Scores:

Australians 440 for 6 (David Warner 94, Mitchell Marsh 136*; Thomas Moore 2 for 50) vs Essex.