First Test – Day 1: Invers gets it right at Centurion

First Test, Centurion

Australia 4/297 v South Africa


What else can we say other than that Shaun Marsh was brilliant and that Invers and the selection panel should be commended for their foresight. Or was it Boofa and Clarkey? After all the skipper will do anything to helter-skelter back to his beloved no.5 position.

The issue with Marsh was never about whether he was good enough, more about how much he deserved this opportunity ahead of others. But then again, good selection is not just about stats, it’s about choosing players who might succeed. And Invers has had that right ever since Nathan Lyon was restored to the team.

It was always going to be a bat-off between Marsh and Alex Doolan until Watto comes back. Their partnership was both impressive and pleasing, and featured one of the old-fashioned skills of batting that has sometimes been forgotten in recent years  –  leaving the ball go.

Doolan is one of the good blokes of Australian cricket and anyone who knows him will be rooting for his cause. He’s been on the periphery for eighteen months without ever quite knocking the door down, but he exuded a calmness and understanding of his game that was impressive.

The standard of the South African bowling at most stages of the day was a class or two up on what the English dished up a couple of months ago. Steyn got better as the day wore on, Morkel started better than he has in memory, and Philander was his normal probing self. But his resilience will be tested.

McLaren was an interesting selection, and one which reeked of a lack of confidence in the spinner. It  is almost as if two players with the all-round skills of both McLaren and Robin Petersen will contribute enough between them to fill the void left by Kallis. But the fact that Peterson was left out of the attack for so long, and that Duminy bowled as many overs as him, said it all.

There are weaknesses in this South African line-up which Lehmann will make sure his boys explore. The two Petersens, Duminy and McLaren are among them.

Chris Rogers looked strangely out of touch and /or confidence, and Michael Clarke is not quite at his best at the moment, but you’d expect them to get back to their best as the series progresses. And Dave Warner needs to be just a little discreet whilst still maintaining his marauding instincts.

Things are looking good for the Aussies and this is definitely a series they can win. Johnson versus Smith is a mouth-watering prospect and we need Siddle and Harris on the park for all three Tests if possible.

But the story of the series already is Shaun Marsh. After 13 years in the system he looks every inch the class player we hoped he would be. Let’s hope his body, his self-belief and his preparation don’t betray him. We need four good years from him.


Full scoreboard




  1. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Good summary Brendan spot on the issue is not , S Marsh ability if he can stay on the park perform and no off field dramas for a length period I will gladly say master stroke and I was wrong but when you don’t pick from the comp underneath in the long run this causes dramas . s Smith goes from strength to strength to be the next captain seems to be a near certainty . Still big questions on Smith ( South Africa ) tactically and while they will fight a lot harder than , England still could be a vital advantage for , Aust
    Thanks Brendan set up for a fascinating day 2

  2. Hi Brendan, good call.
    I notice that J Gillespie tweeted today his congratulations to SE Marsh and in it pointed out the value of a supportive environment.
    Helps everyone.

  3. Good summary Brendan. I have accepted the apology for your previous piece and asked my lawyers to withdraw the defamation action.
    Form is temporary. Class is permanent.
    Lord Invers

  4. Luke Reynolds says

    Spot on about leaving the ball. Was great to see. When in form, Marsh makes batting look very very easy. Hope his confidence and body hold up over the next few years.

Leave a Comment