Pretoria - Shaun Marsh marked his return to Test cricket with a fighting century
as Australia overcame a poor start on the first day of the first Test
against South Africa at SuperSport Park on Wednesday.
As it happened: South Africa v Australia - Day 1
were 297 for four at the close.
They were reeling at 98 for four after
being sent in to bat but Marsh (122 not out) and Steve Smith (91 not
out) added an unbeaten 199 for the fifth wicket with positive stroke
"Shaun was amazing all day," said Smith.
"He let the ball
come into his areas, left really well and capitalised when they bowled
in his areas."
Smith said Australia were in a good position against the world champions.
thought it was going to be quite tough this morning but if we got
through that initial phase it was going to be quite a nice wicket to bat
"It actually played well throughout the day with good pace
"There are a few cracks forming so hopefully with the heat
overhead we can get a big first innings total and let the cracks come
into the game later."
It was a remarkable comeback for the
left-handed Marsh, who just a week ago was contemplating a spell of
domestic Sheffield Shield cricket.
Marsh, 30, was selected for the
tour but had to withdraw because of a calf injury.
He made a quick
recovery, however, and arrived in South Africa on Sunday after Shane
Watson was ruled out of the first Test, also because of a calf injury.
It was Marsh's first Test in two years.
made 141 and 81 in his first two Test innings in Sri Lanka in 2011 but
was dropped after his next nine innings yielded only 79 runs.
started his innings when Australia were 24 for two in the ninth over.
David Warner hit two boundaries off Dale Steyn in the first over of the
match but made only 12 before he was bowled by Steyn, edging an
attempted cut into his stumps.
Chris Rogers made four before he was caught at short leg off Morne Morkel.
tall fast bowler's first delivery of the match, after he replaced
Steyn, was a bouncer which struck Rogers on the shoulder.
The next ball
was another lifter which Rogers fended to the leg side, with JP Duminy
diving to his right to take a good catch.
New cap Alex Doolan and Marsh added 48 for the third wicket before Doolan was caught at midwicket off Ryan McLaren for 27.
Captain Michael Clarke became Steyn's second victim when he top-edged a hook to fine leg after scoring 23.
who survived a sharp chance to Hashim Amla at gully off Morkel when he
had 12, went through a quiet period when he scored only nine runs in 18
overs on either side of lunch but reached his half-century off 101
Batting with increasing fluency, he notched his century off 174
deliveries, with 11 fours.- 'They batted really well' -
South African captain Graeme Smith said at the toss that he wanted to put Australia under pressure at the start of the series.
pitch was well-grassed and there was early life but conditions eased
under a hot sun as the ball lost its shine and Marsh and Smith tamed
South Africa's pace-based attack.
Marsh batted with discipline,
resisting any risky strokes outside the off stump, and took 118 balls to
reach his half-century, with seven fours.
He batted particularly
impressively after South Africa took the second new ball late in the
day. By the close he had faced 178 deliveries and hit 12 fours.
whose only previous Test appearance was four years ago, said South
Africa's decision to bowl was based on recent history at Centurion.
ball was moving around in the beginning but the wicket played slower
and better as the day wore on.
"We had a real opportunity at 98 for four
but they batted really well."