Mitchell Marsh of Western Australia.
Mitchell Marsh of Western Australia.

Marsh back in Ashes selection frame, says Lehmann

AUSTRALIA'S great all-rounder debate is set to be reignited next week, with Mitch Marsh having resumed bowling after his shoulder reconstruction.

National selectors named a 13-man squad for the first and second Ashes Tests and will be reluctant to change a winning side should Australia grab a 2-0 lead in the five-match series.

But they will also be keen to give frontline pacemen Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins some form of respite during the remaining Tests.

"At the moment it's OK (without an all-rounder) but you certainly look at it," coach Darren Lehmann said.

"They're just handy when you have that long second innings ... and if you get an injury during the game.

"Some of the all-rounders aren't knocking down the door like they should be."


Glenn Maxwell after being dismissed for 278.
Glenn Maxwell after being dismissed for 278.


Glenn Maxwell, who was flown to Brisbane as cover only to be released for Sheffield Shield duty, smacked a career-best 278 for Victoria last week. Unfortunately for the Victorian, the selection panel is far more likely to prefer an all-rounder who bowls medium-pace.

If so, Marsh and fellow West Australian Marcus Stoinis would be at the front of the queue.

Marsh played the early stages of the domestic season as a batsman then came off the long run during a recent Sheffield Shield match in Perth, where he also posted a ton.

"Just get through some overs really," Lehmann said, when asked how much Marsh must bowl to be considered for Test selection.

"We rate him highly and his output with the bat's been really impressive this summer.

"He's an option with another few all-rounders if we go down that path, but it's good to see him back bowling."

Maxwell could hardly have responded better after he was dropped from the Test XI.

"It was just 'go away and get hundreds' and he got 200! He did well, it was great," Lehmann said.

England's reluctance to take on Nathan Lyon, who is in career-best form, meant the off-spinner bowled long spells in the Gabba.

If Lyon was hit out of the attack in any of the four remaining Tests it means the workloads of Starc, Hazlewood and Cummins could significantly rise.