Australia allrounder Mitchell Marsh has said that his conscious decision to embrace the pressure helped him earn his team a draw in Melbourne.
Marsh said that while his nerves were still there he was able to stick to his game plan and guts out a 166 ball 29 not out.
Speaking ahead of Thursday’s fifth and final Ashes Test in Sydney Marsh said: “I did embrace it.
“There’s always nerves, I was very nervous.
“I felt like I was going to get out any ball in the first 20 balls, which can happen on those sorts of wickets when it’s reversing.
“And then I felt really confident in my game plan once I got in that I’d be able to do the job.
“I said it a couple of weeks ago, I’ve been a lot more relaxed in this preparation, coming back into the Test team.
“So I knew the sort of game plan I was going to have to go out there with and for me it was about sticking to that for three hours or as long as I needed to do to make sure we got the draw.”
Marsh credits an increase in maturity with helping him cope with his return to Test cricket at the WACA earlier in the Ashes.
He added: “I’ve always been excited about playing Test match cricket, but stress levels rise when you’re not performing.
“Maybe it’s an age thing, but I felt like I was in really good form when I came into the team this summer and I’m really enjoying it at the moment.
“Probably the thing I was most happy about (after the draw in Melbourne) was that 12 months ago, from the mental side of my game, I don’t think I would have got through that.
“Whilst I know that it was the flattest wicket in cricket history, to be able to apply myself for that long and not really worry about scoring was something that I’ve gained a lot of confidence from.
“I’ve worked extremely hard over the last nine months to make sure i have a game that can adapt to all conditions.
“I realise I’ve only done that now in two Test innings and have a long way to go, but I’ve certainly gained a lot of confidence from the last few weeks.”