Mitch Marsh brought up a maiden Test century in front of his father Geoff in Perth
Mitch Marsh brought up a maiden Test century in front of his father Geoff in Perth

Family affair as Swampy watches Mitch ton up

For much of his life Mitchell Marsh has looked at a photo of his father and the cherished day he ground England to sawdust.

Now he has his own epic moment to celebrate as he yesterday produced an innings which further cemented the Marsh name in Ashes folklore.

Geoff 'Swampy' Marsh - the proudest dad in Australia - saluted a famous maiden Test century from youngest son Mitch as the Marsh brothers emerged as this series' unlikely Ashes heroes.

Mitch Marsh yesterday replicated Shaun's effort from the second Test by posting a fairytale hundred in front of family and friends, as Australia closed in on regaining the Ashes urn at the WACA Ground.

Following major shoulder surgery this year Mitchell feared he may never play for Australia again.

On Saturday night an emotional Marsh revealed how his father's iconic Ashes hundred when he batted through an entire day at Nottingham with Mark Taylor in 1989 had long inspired him.

"It's pretty special. Dad always had a photo of him and Mark Taylor walking off the ground, with the scorecard, hanging up in his bar," said Mitchell.

"I grew up looking at that photo. Today was a great day for Australia.

"It was just pure elation."

Both brothers had been ruled out of selection calculations in the opinions of most - Shaun brought to tears at home with Mitchell when he got his Gabba call-up from selector Trevor Hohns, because he thought it was all over.

Shaun, who was dismissed for 28 yesterday, stood and applauded from the players' balcony as Mitch raised his bat and roared in celebration at the greatest moment of his career.

Geoff Marsh, the former Australia opening batsman, coach and selector, said he was wracked with nerves as Mitch closed in on his first Test hundred just before tea.

"It was nervous enough last week with Shaun. It's always nervous when they play," he said.

Geoff Marsh watches on as Mitch tons up at the WACA
Geoff Marsh watches on as Mitch tons up at the WACA

 

 

"I think I'm like every other parent though, we all get nervous and we understand how each other feels.

"It's special for the team and for Mitch. He's worked really hard for it so I'm just really proud of him for the way he went about it."

Geoff Marsh did not take a swipe at the host of critics of Mitch's selection for the third Test, saying they had a right to be heard. However he said both of his sons were picked because they were in form.

Mitchell yesterday more than justified his polarising comeback for the WACA ahead of Peter Handscomb.

"That's OK. Everyone's entitled to their opinion. Cricket's a big game and there's a lot of people out there involved in the game," he said.

"At the end of the day, runs are the only currency of value. That's the attitude that he's taken.

"I think the selectors have shown their hand with they are going to pick players who are in form and they did that at the start (of the series) and they did that with Mitch, who's been batting well."

 

Shaun Marsh hit a century in the second Test in Adelaide
Shaun Marsh hit a century in the second Test in Adelaide

 

 

The Marsh brothers have been dogged by social media abuse during their rollercoaster international careers, something Geoff never had to contend with in his era.

"You learn as an athlete what to read and what not to read," he said.

"It's all part of it now. Every day it's there. But you just learn as an athlete when to switch on and switch off. (Mitch) has learnt that over the last 12 months."

Geoff Marsh said Mitch's time out this year following a shoulder reconstruction had allowed for a greater focus on his batting.

"He's worked hard on it. Obviously you get time to reflect and look back on where you've been. He's done that, he's relaxed a little bit and he's just matured," he said.

"(WA coach) Justin Langer's been massive for him both on the field and off the field. He's done a lot of work with him and it's a credit to him and his batting coach Scotty Meuleman."



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