x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Marsh continues to thrive at No 3 for Australia

Shaun Marsh's impressive start to life in Test cricket continued with 81 for Australia in the third Test with Sri Lanka.

Shaun Marsh yesterday repaid the faith in him from the Australian Test selectors to help his side recover from a poor start in the final Test against Sri Lanka.

Australia, who are one up in the three-match series, were wobbling at 22 for two in Colombo after losing both openers Shane Watson and Philip Hughes cheaply, but Marsh led the fightback with a knock of 81 to help his side reach 235 for five going in to today's second day.

Marsh had made his debut in the second Test with a century batting at No 3, and despite the return of Ricky Ponting, who had missed the match to return home for the birth of his second child, the selectors chose to keep Marsh at No 3 in the batting line-up.

"When I was told this morning that I will bat at three, I felt it was a huge honour," Marsh said. "But it didn't really matter where I batted. I wasn't too fussed. I knew I had a job to do and I just looked forward to have another opportunity to do a job out there.

"I have really enjoyed my first two innings in Test cricket. I have loved every bit of being out there with the boys and tried to lap it up as much as I can."

Marsh put on 79 for the third wicket batting with Ponting (48), who came in at No 4, and then 70 for the fifth wicket with Michael Hussey (63 not out) before he was bowled by Rangana Herath.

Marsh is not the only one enjoying a strong start to Test cricket.

Shaminda Eranga, the Sri Lanka seamer, struck with his first ball in Test cricket, as Watson drove straight to Tillakaratne Dilshan, the captain, at point.

The newcomer also dismissed Michael Clarke, the Australia captain for six, and he was thrilled with his performance.

"I was determined to perform well if I get a break in Tests," Eranga said. "I bowled according to plan and got a wicket with my first ball. I am very happy with it."

Eranga is confident that Sri Lanka can move quickly through Australia's lower-order today.

"We have a new ball and with some help from the pitch we have to again bowl according to our plans," he said.