Sri Lanka vs Australia 2016: Mitchell Marsh reveals special plans for countering spin threat in Sri Lanka
Australian all-rounder Mitchell Marsh is keen to stamp his authority as a batsman of repute during the upcoming Test series against Sri Lanka and the 24-year-old has revealed that he has been preparing a lot to counter the spin-friendly surfaces expected to greet Australia in the subcontinent.
Seen as Australia’s leading all-rounder after the retirement of Shane Watson from all formats of the game, Marsh is keen to cement his place in the Australian side in the longer format of the game by impressing with both bat and ball.
Speaking last week after arriving in Sri Lanka from Australia, Marsh had spoken of his utility to the side as someone who could prove useful to the side as a third seamer as well as one who could be a partnership breaker with fewer overs expected from him.
Marsh, who arrived in Kandy, the venue of the first of the three Test matches which begins on July 26, has now revealed the special preparations he has been undergoing over the past few months with a view of achieving success in the subcontinent with the bat.
"I’ve done a lot of work in the nets over the last probably six months playing spin and trying to improve," Marsh said after Australia’s 15-man squad arrived in the ancient Sri Lankan hill kingdom city of Kandy to finalise their preparation for the first Test at nearby Pallekele.
"The biggest thing here (in Sri Lanka) is if it is turning, to make sure that you have a game plan and that you stick to it from ball one. It’s all about being sharp as you can."
Revealing more about his preparations, Marsh said that he has been practising the sweep shot that was so effectively used by former Australian opening batsman Matthew Hayden during his playing days in the tricky pitches in India and Sri Lanka.
"I’ve worked really hard on my sweep shot over the last few months so hopefully in these (Test) matches I’ll be able to get it out, especially if it’s turning," Marsh said. "I think it’s a great weapon to have - the ball is generally not going to be turning too much and is going to be missing the stumps.”
Marsh also talked about the importance of building partnerships and the need to rotate strike consistently to avoid spinners getting into their rhythm early on during their spell.
"It’s also a great weapon to mess up the bowlers’ lengths and do something different, and also to get off strike which is probably the most important thing. So hopefully I’ll be out there long enough to play it,” he said.