BIG RETURN: Shaun Marsh has completed his time in the cricketing wilderness with a recall to the Test team for Australia’s tour of South Africa.
BIG RETURN: Shaun Marsh has completed his time in the cricketing wilderness with a recall to the Test team for Australia’s tour of South Africa. GETTY IMAGES

Bailey makes way for ‘reborn’ Marsh

SHAUN Marsh struggled to get a game, let alone score a run for Western Australia last season - now he's in the frame to replace the axed George Bailey in the first Test against South Africa at Centurion on February 12.

Selectors finally ran out of patience with Bailey after the Tasmanian scored only 311 runs at 26.14 in the 5-0 Ashes whitewash, passing 50 just once in his eight knocks against a dismal English attack.

Now Marsh, or the uncapped Alex Doolan, are set to find themselves in the firing line against the world's No.1 pace battery.

Both were named in the 15-man squad for the three-Test series yesterday, while pacemen James Pattinson and Jackson Bird also earned recalls.

Marsh's return completed a long road back to the Test arena following his stunning debut when he scored 141 against Sri Lanka at Pallekele in September 2011.

Things went downhill fast from there - six Tests later he was dropped in January 2012 after he averaged just 2.83 across six innings in the home series against India.

He had scored just 301 runs at 27.36 in his seven Tests.

A lack of form, a series of alcohol-fuelled incidents, and hamstring injuries left Marsh on the outer with both national and state selectors - until former Australian opener and now WA coach Justin Langer told him a few home truths.

Marsh took it to heart and knuckled down this season.

He scored 47, 54, 84 and 119 in his four Ryobi Cup innings, scored 248 Sheffield Shield runs at 31, and backed that up by scoring two consecutive 50s in his two games in the ODI series against England.

Now he's been given another opportunity to wear his baggy green, and the 30-year-old said he was sure he was a better player now than when he first wore it.

"I've had a taste of Test cricket and I know what it's all about now and how mentally tough you have to be, so I hopefully that will put me in good stead for this series," said Marsh.

"What happened before in my career is all history now - it's all behind me."

Test squad:

Michael Clarke (c), Brad Haddin (vc), Jackson Bird, Alex Doolan, James Faulkner, Ryan Harris, Mitchell Johnson, Shaun Marsh, Nathan Lyon, James Pattinson, Chris Rogers, Peter Siddle, Steve Smith, David Warner, Shane Watson.

Schedule

Feb 12-16: 1st Test at SuperSport Park, Centurion

Feb 20-24: 2nd Test at St George's Park, Port Elizabeth

Mar 1-5: 3rd Test at Newlands, Cape Town



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