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Mitchell Marsh, DRS and drama at the MCG

Last updated on 27 Dec 2023 | 02:04 AM
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Mitchell Marsh, DRS and drama at the MCG

When Mitchell Marsh had to overturn two decisions from Joel Wilson to stay alive

Boxing Day Tests are all about theatrics. 

It is about the razzmatazz batting and the fizzy bowling, and the jam-packed Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) couldn’t have asked for a better show. 

While day one was quite a dampener, the second day’s play (December 27) was all about the theatrics involving 32-year-old Mitchell Marsh. With a conservative middle-order, the onus really was on the duo of Travis Head and Marsh to amp up the pace when and where required. 

On quite a tricky surface, where batters opted for conservatism, Marsh attacked like a wild Bison, infusing much-needed energy into this encounter. 204/4, Australia were definitely eyeing a good total, but with the new ball around the corner, they needed someone to go hard at the ball. 

That someone was Marsh, walked into this encounter on the back of a 90 and 63* against the same opponents in Perth. 

On the fifth ball of his innings, Marsh launched an assault, a brutal authoritarian smack over the flaying mid-off fielder for a four. His intentions were clear. 

In the 74th over of the innings, when Joel Wilson’s finger went up for an LBW decision, there was pin-drop silence at the ‘G, with Marsh still on 7 off 13. 

Marsh wasn’t quite convinced about the decision, but Marnus Labuschagne convinced the all-rounder to take the review anyway. It was a money ball from Hasan Ali, but to the Marsh's fortuitous, there was the slightest inside edge. 

"It's not fair," uttered the Pakistani players as the decision flashed on the big screen, but were forced to walk back to their mark despite the discontent. 

A delivery later, Ali was entirely convinced that the all-rounder from Perth was a goner. The Pakistan team was convinced, especially with how Mohammad Rizwan celebrated the dismissal. But Marsh was unfazed. He immediately reviewed it, and a few seconds later, Marsh was once again a free man. 

This time, Marsh was well outside the line of off-stump, and there wasn’t any bat on the ball. It wasn’t even close to an LBW by any stretch. All focus was on Wilson, whose decision was reversed for a second ball in a row. 

On Triple M, Junior Waugh said, "It is interesting because why would you take 10 seconds to DRS it when you inside-edged it? He hasn't hit that. Snicko says he hasn't hit it; hotspot is the only thing that says he has hit it. You don't go upstairs after 12 seconds." 

"Joel Wilson is on a hat-trick," he added later. 

We have witnessed one decision reversed, and we have even witnessed two decisions reversed, but two-in-two is quite a rarity. 37% of Wilson’s decisions have been reversed since the start of 2022 (min 20 reviews). It was a drama of the top drawer, two deliveries, two different forms of dismissal, but one constant: reversal, as the crowd munched on their popcorn. 

Exactly two overs later, Marsh started taking full advantage of the new spring in his foot, with 11 runs off Agha Salman’s over, where the all-rounder took the off-spinner downtown with a huge hit. When Salman pitched it up short, Marsh went on the backfoot and smashed it through covers in the fiercest manner, moving to 24 off 25. 

Marsh didn’t stop there, smashing every delivery with width on it, smoking it to all corners of the ground, including one that went past the mid-on fielder. Eventually, the all-rounder’s cameo (41 off 60) ended when he died by the sword. 

Seeing width, the 32-year-old slashed one straight to the deep backward point fielder - an unordinary field setup - employed by Shan Masood to cut down on the easy pickings. It was a knock that very well could have changed the outcome of the clash here in Melbourne. 

Most definitely, it was a knock that entertained the crowd. 

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