Nightwatchman decision puzzles Marsh


Australia allrounder Mitchell Marsh admitted that England’s decision not to send in a nightwatchman late on day one puzzled him.

Marsh held onto a sharp chance to get rid of Joe Root in what turned out to be the penultimate over of the day.

Root was followed back into the hut by Jonny Bairstow, who rejected the offer of a nightwatchman only to get a jaffer from Josh Hazlewood that saw him nick off and left England 233 for 5 at stumps.

Marsh told ABC after play: “I was very surprised I didn’t see a nightwatchman for England – Gaz [Nathan Lyon] has been padded up for me a couple of times in a few games.

“I think it’s going to be a very good pitch to bat on. It dried out pretty quickly today.”

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England may yet come to rue the decision to bat first if the pitch does indeed flatten out as the Test progresses.

Things could have been worse for England though with Australia lacking the ruthlessness present in the first three Ashes Tests especially earlier in the day.

Dawid Malan was dropped on 34 and would end the day on 55 not out leaving him carrying England’s hopes of a decent first innings total.

Marsh said of the early phases of play: “It was nice to get those late ones. Hopefully we can get the ball swinging in the morning and get into the tail.

“I thought we bowled reasonably well. If we had taken a few chances early on we could have had them seven or eight down, but I thought the boys fought hard all day The ball swung most of the day.”

The first session of the day was wiped out by rain but a spot of overtime on the end of a lengthened final session allowed just a handful of overs to be lost.