Mitch Marsh firm­ing as a Flintoff- like all- rounder

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - BEN HORNE

ALASTAIR Cook pre­dicted the new An­drew Flintoff would stand up this Ashes se­ries. The Eng­land cap­tain was talk­ing about Ben Stokes.

But he might as well have been fore­cast­ing the emer­gence of Aus­tralian all- rounder Mitchell Marsh.

Doubts over Marsh’s abil­i­ties as a Test stan­dard fast bowler are quickly evap­o­rat­ing this tour, as he starred with the ball at Lord’s and fol­lowed up with a dom­i­nant four- wicket ef­fort in the drawn tour match against Der­byshire.

Marsh ( left) stormed into the ac­tion with 3- 9 in 19 balls at one point, as the lo­cals fell to be all out for 259, be­fore Aus­tralian cap­tain Michael Clarke closed out the three- day match with a solid 44 not out that gave him some much- needed time in the mid­dle.

Fawad Ahmed took 3- 68 and Peter Sid­dle, Pat Cum­mins and Shane Wat­son a wicket each, but it was Marsh who made the dif­fer­ence.

There is a lot of Flintoff in Marsh and there­fore, a lot for Aus­tralian cricket to be ex­cited about. Flintoff was the dif­fer­ence in the un­for­get­table 2005 Ashes se­ries, with his all- round skill and larger- than- life per­son­al­ity too much for the Aus­tralians to han­dle.

Like Freddy, Marsh has that abil­ity to change a game in a ses­sion.

With the bat he is an ex­plo­sive striker, and it’s only a mat­ter of time un­til he plays a mon­ster in­nings for Aus­tralia.

And in re­plac­ing Shane Wat­son – seem­ingly per­ma­nently – Marsh’s big­gest im­pact has been the ex­tra ve­loc­ity with the ball. He also shares Flintoff’s in­fec­tious per­son­al­ity and nat­u­ral lead­er­ship ten­den­cies.

The only am­ber light is the sim­i­lar­i­ties of their bod­ies, and Aus­tralia will be keep­ing their fin­gers crossed that Marsh can rid him­self of the in­jury prob­lems that ended Flintoff’s ca­reer.

Bowl­ing up­wards of 140km/ h, Marsh has upped the in­ten­sity of the Aus­tralian at­tack.

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