Shaun Marsh’s much-awaited comeback to cricket has lasted just 11 balls.
In his first game since breaking his finger in Australia’s second Test loss to South Africa last month, Marsh managed only eight as his Perth Scorchers crashed to a six-wicket BBL loss to the Sydney Sixers on Tuesday night.
The opener had hoped to remind Test selectors of his worth, the 33-year-old believing he still has much to offer on the international stage.
Australian selector Mark Waugh was in the commentary box at the SCG and suspected Marsh would have been nervous on his return.
He certainly made a tentative start to his innings, with Marsh and Michael Klinger scoring just five runs off the first two overs from spinners Johan Botha and Steve O’Keefe.
The left-hander enjoyed the pace bowling more, with Marsh belting Doug Bollinger’s first delivery for four – only to hole out in the deep four balls later.
Marsh’s brother and Test discard Mitch fared a little better, the all-rounder’s unbeaten 31 off 29 balls ensuring the Scorchers at least batted out their 20 overs to finish at 8-130.
Sam Whiteman had briefly raised the run rate with a 16-ball 28 before falling victim to a spectacular outfield catch from Botha.
The former South African one-day captain took the catch at deep mid-wicket but, realising he was heading over the boundary rope, quickly threw the ball back inside and coolly collected it to the delight of the big crowd.
The Scorchers’ modest total was always going to be difficult to defend, especially after the visitors opted to rest star quick Mitchell Johnson.
Johnson claimed 3-33 in the Scorchers’ win over the Adelaide Strikers last Friday night, but is being “managed” by the Perth outfit to ensure the 35-year-old lasts the tournament.
Even after losing English import Jason Roy – the side’s best performer in their last-start 60-run loss to the Hobart Hurricanes – the Sixers cruised to victory.
Roy succumbed to back spasms during training on Monday, with Ryan Carters getting a call-up and Brad Haddin promoted to open.
Haddin made only seven, but his 34-run first-wicket stand with Sam Billings (40 off 30 balls) in barely four overs set up the Sixers’ innings.
Handy contributions from skipper Moises Henriques (24 off 21), Jordan Silk (28 off 28) and Botha (30 not out off 19) ensured the Sixers got home comfortably with two full overs to spare.