Vice-captain Mitchell Marsh leads by example ahead of Pakistan Tests
Mitchell Marsh scored 162 to pile agony on Pakistan A. (Getty Image)

Australia vice-captain Mitchell Marsh warmed up for the Test series against Pakistan by scoring a century during the team’s first practice match against Pakistan A at the ICC academy in Dubai. Marsh put on useful partnerships with brother Shaun and later Travis Head as he pummelled 162 and made a statement ahead of the first Test that starts October 7.

During his knock, in which he put on worthy partnerships with Shaun and Head, Marsh’s tackling of spin was an impressive feature of his innings.

“Obviously, it was nice to spend some time in the middle. There are a few things I have worked on in the winter. It was nice to put them into fruition out there,” Marsh said after the close of play on Day 3 of the four-day game. “I don’t necessarily think I have flicked the switch at any point. I continue to work on my game and continue to improve. There are certain elements of my game that have got better.”

From an overnight 53, Mitchell Marsh progressed to 162 and with his older brother Shaun (94) extended his alliance to 207 until the senior Marsh was bowled by Iftikhar Ahmed. The brothers defied Pakistan A for nearly five hours while batting two consecutive sessions together, with Shaun Marsh clanged on the helmet by a Wahab Riaz bouncer and the pair nearly run out during a mid-pitch scramble in the morning.

“We actually don’t really talk in the middle so … it’s nice to have him out there. He is a very calming influence for me, certainly out in the middle. I think every time I bat with him, it’s truly special no matter what game it is,” Mitchell said.

“He is really good form. He looks in really good touch. He has proven over the last couple of years that he can score big runs for South Australia. I think he is ready to go. He is a great guy around the group, a great young leader as well. If he gets the opportunity, it will be exciting for him,” he said.

Ever since the trio of Steven Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft were banned for their involvement in ball tampering, there are places in the Australian line-up for grabs. But the biggest blank remains Australia’s impression on the cricketing world since the “sandpaper gate” incident broke out in March.

“Right now, we have a great bunch of people here. A great bunch of young guys who are striving to get better every day. We want to work hard and live by certain values as Australian cricketers and make Australians proud. I think if we do that then, hopefully, the word culture won’t be mentioned as much,” Marsh said.