Mitchell Marsh geared up for delivering with both bat and ball in Sri Lanka
Australian all-rounder Mitchell Marsh is keen to play whatever role the team management expects from his during the tour of Sri Lanka and has promised to be fully prepared for the tough conditions the Aussies are expected to encounter in the island nation. Seen as Australia’s premier all-rounder in the Test format following Shane Watson’s retirement, Marsh is keen to stamp his authority further, with both bat and ball.
While Marsh is expected to play a key role with the bat coming in at the No 6 slot, the spin-friendly conditions likely for the Test series could see Australia going in with two spinners. This could mean added bowling responsibility for Marsh as the third seamer, but it’s a challenge the 24-year-old is more than happy to answer.
"I think depending on the outlook of the team and whether they bowl two spinners or three quicks and me, my role will differ," Marsh said in Colombo, on the eve of Australia's three-day tour match against a Sri Lankan XI. "But for me, it's about just playing the conditions, I will be attacking the stumps as much as I can, with fields that allow me to bowl like that.
"I think if we've got two spinners I'll probably bowl a bit more with the newer ball being the third seamer. It's always nice in these conditions to bowl when the ball's a little bit harder and potentially swinging a little bit, but I don't really mind, I'll just bowl wherever the skipper needs me to bowl. Whatever the selectors go with, I'll just prepare as best I can."
While Australia have been pretty dominant elsewhere, their record in the Indian subcontinent has been far from impressive. In the 15 Tests Australia have played in the region since April 2006, they have lost 10 and drawn four others. The solitary win though came against Sri Lanka in Galle in 2011 as Australia held on for a 1-0 series victory and with the hosts struggling with injuries and the inability to replace stalwarts Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene, Australia are expected to have it easy this time around.
Marsh, though, is not taking any chances and added that the Australian team will not be complacent in their approach as the conditions are sure to prove slightly tricky for the visitors.
"That's something we've spoken about as a batting group already, just being as sharp as we can to start our innings. I think conditions, whether it is spinning or whether it is reverse swing, it's always going to come into it massively when we're batting,” Marsh said. "I'll be preparing as best I can over the coming week for the different conditions, and I think the start of the innings here is really important."