Australian vice-captain David Warner has backed Shaun Marsh as his opening partner ahead of next week’s first Commonwealth Bank Test against South Africa in Perth.
Marsh is the Test incumbent opener but faces pressure from Queensland’s Joe Burns ahead of the Australian squad announcement on Friday.
However, Warner has thrown his weight behind Marsh after the left-handed batsman sealed his comeback from a hamstring injury with a superb 110 for Western Australia on Thursday night.
Warner was also in fine form, warming up for the three-Test series opener with a fine 134 for NSW in their day-night Sheffield Shield clash with Queensland at the Gabba.
At stumps on day three, the Bulls were 1-51 in their second dig chasing 365 for victory with Burns not out 29 and Usman Khawaja unbeaten on 12.
Ex-Test opener Burns had already turned heads at the Gabba with 129 for Queensland in this week’s Shield clash But Warner believed Marsh would not let anyone down in the baggy green now that he had overcome yet another hamstring complaint.
“If the selectors have the trust and belief that he can do the job, Shaun has put his hand up every time,” Warner said. “It’s unfortunate his injuries have come at poor times – he would like a better consistency with his own body But he’s a world-class player and we know what we get with him. If he’s given the opportunity, he will take it like he did in Sri Lanka.”
Marsh is fresh from tons in his last two Tests. Warner also liked the look of his own form before facing the Proteas.
He celebrated his 30th birthday with a ton in his only first class hit out before the three-Test series starts in Perth next Thursday.
Warner struck 17 fours in his five hour knock.
He shared a 230-run opening stand with Ed Cowan (95) before NSW eventually declared at 7-367. “It’s a great stepping stone into the summer,” Warner said.
The Blues will try to seal a win in their Shield opener without Test spearhead Mitchell Starc.
NSW have rested Starc for the game’s last two days ahead of the first Test as a precaution as he recovers from a leg wound. He has been replaced by fellow left-arm quick Doug Bollinger.
Starc took 1-62 off 19 overs in Queensland’s first innings in his return from a leg gash that required 30 stitches.
Warner liked what he saw.
“We saw him easily hit 140-150kph. We are excited about what he will bring this summer,” he said.
Laraib Kashif is a freelance writer and cricket lover. He is interested in writing and playing Fantasy Cricket!