Marsh leads race to partner Warner up front

Shaun Marsh (File)
Shaun Marsh (File)

 Perth - Western Australia batsman Shaun Marsh has established himself as the front runner to open the batting alongside David Warner in the first Test against South Africa in Perth.

Marsh proved his fitness in WA's day/night clash with South Australia in Perth, looking comfortable at the crease as he made 73.

The opener had been a doubt for the first Test after picking up a hamstring strain in a Matador Cup game in which he made a score of 70.

Marsh has made centuries in each of his last two Tests having scored 182 in Hobart before he got the axe and then putting the bulk of Australia's batsmen to shame as he scored a ton in Sri Lanka when most of the order were struggling to crack double figures.

Cameron Bancroft, Marsh's WA teammate had been tipped by many to make his debut at the WACA if Marsh had failed to prove his fitness but it seems as though he will have to wait. Bancroft made a score of 20 against South Australia.

Marsh has said he felt he had to play in the first Shield game of the season to prove his fitness to the selector's ahead of what is shaping up to be a tough series against a fired up Proteas outfit.

The right-hander told cricket.com.au: "I didn't ask too many questions but I was guessing that was the feeling.

"I worked pretty hard over the last couple of days to get right and thankfully ... I got through the first day which I'm happy about.

"I ran pretty much to my maximum speed and even though the physio wasn't too keen for me to do that, you get out there and instinct takes over."

Marsh felt the only negative from his performance was his failure to kick on and make a century, he was brilliantly caught and bowled by Baggy Green Teammate Travis Head.

The opener added: "It was nice. Obviously I was disappointed with my shot after doing all the hard work early doors.

 "Generally, my feet were moving pretty good so hopefully next time I can cash in on it. It was nice to get some runs but it would have been nice to get a hundred."

Elsewhere Queensland opener Joe Burns has made things interesting by cracking his 12th first class hundred against New South Wales at the Gabba. At the time of writing Burns was 111 not out at the dinner break in Brisbane.

Another of those touted as a possible opener Usman Khawaja, made 79 for Queensland against NSW.


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