Infotainment Factory: 'I would roll the dice': Test great backs Marsh

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Monday, 24 December 2018

'I would roll the dice': Test great backs Marsh


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Former Australian Test captain Mark Taylor believes the home side should “roll the dice” and play Mitch Marsh ahead of the under-fire Peter Handscomb in the Boxing Day Test against India at the MCG.

Handscomb has struggled throughout the Border-Gavaskar Series managing a series-high score of 34 amid a string of lean stints at the crease.

Taylor expressed concerned over the 27-year-old’s unorthodox technique and was inclined to lean toward out of favour Marsh to provide greater security on lively pitches.

“I would roll the dice and go for Mitchell Marsh,” Taylor told Wide World of Sports in an exclusive interview.

Mitch Marsh and Peter Handscomb

“That would be hard on Peter Handscomb but I just feel his technique makes it very difficult for him against quality bowling, particularly fast bowling.

“Back and across on the crease is very difficult to score with and get off strike, and he still looks to me like he wants to hit a lot of balls behind point off the quicks. With pitches that are bouncing, and they have been so far this series, that’s fraught with danger for Australia.”

By contrast Taylor was brimming with confidence over Australia’s bowling and stressed the onus fell with the hosts’ top-order being able to make consistent “reasonable totals” to lock down the series.

“I think the key for the Aussies is to keep making enough runs to be competitive,” he said.

“If Australia can keep making scores around 300-350, then I think they’ve got the bowling and the fielding to back it up.

Australia celebrate in Perth

“That’s what happened in Perth and if you look at Adelaide they were only 31 runs short with scores of 231 and 291.

“They’ve got the bowling to keep worrying India with their three quicks and Nathan Lyon playing superbly, they just need to keep posting reasonable totals to keep themselves in the game.”

India’s openers, Murali Vijay and KL Rahul, have floundered in both Adelaide and Perth but Taylor backed the “classy” openers to find form in lieu of stronger top-order alternatives.

“When you look to make your side better you’ve got to have a better alternative, and they obviously don’t feel that’s the case at this stage,” Taylor said.

India led by Virat Kohli

“Rahul and Vijay are very good players, but at the moment they’re struggling. They’ve been put under pressure by some very good bowling and pitches that have done a bit.

“If you look at their tour of England, all their batsmen struggled over there as well for the same reasons.

“They’re certainly getting better at playing in different conditions, but its not what they’re used to. They’re used to flatter pitches that deteriorate and spin – the pitches we’ve seen so far have had grass on them, bounced and there has been a bit of sideways movement.”

“India obviously know they’re class players, and they are, but they’ve got to prove it day in and day out.”

Ravichandran Ashwin

Taylor also stressed the importance for the tourists to reintroduce spin king Ravichandran Ashwin into the series after struggling to make an impact with four fast bowling options.

“I think it’s extremely important for India to get Ashwin back. As we saw in Perth, sometimes having four quicks is in no advantage to having three,” he said.

“The other thing Ashwin will do will add some length to their batting because that’s where India have really looked feeble. After six down they fall.”

The Boxing Day Tests starts at 10:30am (AEST) at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Former Australian Test captain Mark Taylor believes the home side should “roll the dice” and play Mitch Marsh ahead of the under-fire Peter Handscomb in the Boxing Day Test against India at the MCG.

Handscomb has struggled throughout the Border-Gavaskar Series managing a series-high score of 34 amid a string of lean stints at the crease.

Taylor expressed concerned over the 27-year-old’s unorthodox technique and was inclined to lean toward out of favour Marsh to provide greater security on lively pitches.

“I would roll the dice and go for Mitchell Marsh,” Taylor told Wide World of Sports in an exclusive interview.

Mitch Marsh and Peter Handscomb

“That would be hard on Peter Handscomb but I just feel his technique makes it very difficult for him against quality bowling, particularly fast bowling.

“Back and across on the crease is very difficult to score with and get off strike, and he still looks to me like he wants to hit a lot of balls behind point off the quicks. With pitches that are bouncing, and they have been so far this series, that’s fraught with danger for Australia.”

By contrast Taylor was brimming with confidence over Australia’s bowling and stressed the onus fell with the hosts’ top-order being able to make consistent “reasonable totals” to lock down the series.

“I think the key for the Aussies is to keep making enough runs to be competitive,” he said.

“If Australia can keep making scores around 300-350, then I think they’ve got the bowling and the fielding to back it up.

Australia celebrate in Perth

“That’s what happened in Perth and if you look at Adelaide they were only 31 runs short with scores of 231 and 291.

“They’ve got the bowling to keep worrying India with their three quicks and Nathan Lyon playing superbly, they just need to keep posting reasonable totals to keep themselves in the game.”

India’s openers, Murali Vijay and KL Rahul, have floundered in both Adelaide and Perth but Taylor backed the “classy” openers to find form in lieu of stronger top-order alternatives.

“When you look to make your side better you’ve got to have a better alternative, and they obviously don’t feel that’s the case at this stage,” Taylor said.

India led by Virat Kohli

“Rahul and Vijay are very good players, but at the moment they’re struggling. They’ve been put under pressure by some very good bowling and pitches that have done a bit.

“If you look at their tour of England, all their batsmen struggled over there as well for the same reasons.

“They’re certainly getting better at playing in different conditions, but its not what they’re used to. They’re used to flatter pitches that deteriorate and spin – the pitches we’ve seen so far have had grass on them, bounced and there has been a bit of sideways movement.”

“India obviously know they’re class players, and they are, but they’ve got to prove it day in and day out.”

Ravichandran Ashwin

Taylor also stressed the importance for the tourists to reintroduce spin king Ravichandran Ashwin into the series after struggling to make an impact with four fast bowling options.

“I think it’s extremely important for India to get Ashwin back. As we saw in Perth, sometimes having four quicks is in no advantage to having three,” he said.

“The other thing Ashwin will do will add some length to their batting because that’s where India have really looked feeble. After six down they fall.”

The Boxing Day Tests starts at 10:30am (AEST) at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

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