Sport Cricket The Ashes: Australia on back foot as Warner fails again

The Ashes: Australia on back foot as Warner fails again

Out cheap: David Warner's horror run has continued. Photo: Getty
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Australia lost two early wickets in the fifth Test at The Oval, with David Warner falling cheaply again.

Warner was caught behind by Jonny Bairstow for five off Jofra Archer, with the English paceman also capturing the wicket of Marcus Harris for three.

At lunch, Australia was 2-55 with Marnus Labuschagneon 32 and Steve Smith on14.

England made 294 in its first innings, with Australian allrounder Mitch Marsh putting in a fine spell on day one.

Talking to reporters Marchs said “most of Australia hate me”, but he may well be winning the nation over after an inspired spell of bowling at The Oval in the fifth Test on Friday morning (AEST).

The West Australian allrounder, whose last Test appearance against India saw him booed by the MCG crowd, turned those jeers into cheers after finishing with career-best figures of 4-35 as England collapsed from 3-170 to 8-271 at stumps on day one.

The Boxing Day Test defeat was the start of a torrid run for the likeable 27-year-old that saw him lose the vice-captaincy, his place in all Australia’s teams and then his Cricket Australia central contract in April.

A lack of form, injury and death of one of his closest friends, also hit Marsh hard but on Thursday he enjoyed a day to remember in south London with a superb spell of bowling after tea where he got the ball to swing prodigiously.

Marsh has come to terms with not being a favourite with Australia cricket fans, but is hopeful his performance, following his surprise selection ahead of Travis Head, can silence some of his critics.

“Most of Australia hate me,” Marsh joked.

“Australians are passionate, they love their cricket, they want people to do well.

“There’s no doubt that I’ve had a lot of opportunities at Test level and I haven’t quite nailed it but hopefully they can respect me for the fact I keep coming back.

“Hopefully I win them over one day.”

Marsh has spent the whole Ashes series mixing drinks and biding his time on the sidelines on 12th man duties and admitted he was surprised to get the call-up into the side and determined to make the most of his opportunity.

“I certainly worked hard the last five months to get an opportunity again,” he said.

“When you have setbacks you always think the worst, I thought I might not play again after a summer like I had last year.

“There was a range of stuff there … a few things in my personal life I lost a close friend to suicide at the start of the summer.

When things like that happen I didn’t handle it as well as I could have.

“It transitioned into my cricket at times as well. I understand everyone goes through tough periods in their life.

“I certainly didn’t handle that as best as I could.

“I just worked my bum off hoping to get another opportunity. Today was a really pleasing day.”

It’s been a tough road back for Marsh who was axed from the Test side, suffered severe bleeding after a blow to the box at training, then was overlooked for the World Cup squad and lost his Cricket Australia contract.

“He got some pretty honest feedback when he was dropped,” Tim Paine said. “About where he was at both physically and with his cricket.

Mitchell Marsh celebrations=friends.
Mitchell Marsh rose to the occasion and kept Australia’s dreams alive. Photo: Getty 

“He had a choice to make. Either to sulk about it or to do something about it … Mitch at the moment is as fit as we’ve seen him. He’s worked his backside off.

“Certainly when he’s fitter, his bowling goes to another level. Obviously if you’re a boy the size he is, it’s hard to run in all day when you’re carrying a few extra kilos.”

Marsh hired a personal trainer and did some work at AFL club West Coast, wanting to leave no stone unturned as he hunted an Ashes recall.

Paine didn’t reveal who delivered the forthright feedback but it’s believed to have come from national coach Justin Langer, a lifelong mentor for the son of good mate Geoff Marsh.

The captain added that Ben Stokes’ superb home summer with both bat and ball, and his work ethic, is something Marsh is “aspiring to”.

“We’ve constantly spoken to him about being at that level of fitness where you can bowl 25, 30 overs and then come out and score a hundred,” Paine said.

-with AAP