CRICKET: Brothers Mitch and Shaun Marsh are on the verge of being reunited in the Test arena as Australia makes a last-ditch effort to keep the Ashes series alive.
After the visitors' capitulation at Edgbaston to leave them trailing 2-1, Australian selectors are contemplating making a change to the batting line-up for the fourth Test at Trent Bridge, starting tomorrow night, with Shaun Marsh "knocking down the door", according to coach Darren Lehmann.
The 32-year-old, who has played just 14 Tests in four years, made 69 in his last knock when filling in for opener Chris Rogers on the tour of the West Indies.
He has since made scores of 114 against Kent, and 101 and 30 against Derbyshire in tour matches in England.
"He's knocking the door down hard, isn't he?" Lehmann said on Adelaide radio yesterday.
"He was very good in the West Indies for us. He's starting to work it out, as you do when you get to that sort of age. You start to be in the prime and really understand your game well."
Although he opened in his two warm-up matches, if called up Shaun would replace the under-fire Adam Voges and bat in the middle order, possibly at No.4, if embattled skipper Michael Clarke shifts down a spot.
Fellow WA veteran Voges scored a century on debut against the West Indies in June, but has added only 73 runs against England at an average just 14.6 - the worst record of all the Aussie batsmen.
Lehmann said he and chairman of selectors Rod Marsh would inspect the wicket at Trent Bridge before finalising their line-up.
"We'll have to work out if we can fit him in or not," Lehmann said.
"You don't like to change too much. This side beat England by 405 runs (in the second Test at Lord's).
"We'll just have to wait and see with where we go. It will be interesting to see what sort of wicket we get."
While Mitch Marsh struggled at Edgbaston - scoring 0 and 6 with the bat and producing figures of 0-24 and 0-8 with the ball - he is expected to be retained.
The Marsh brothers played their only five-day match against India at the Gabba last December.
England selector Mick Newell, meanwhile, has defended batsman Adam Lyth following the opener's own Ashes struggles.
He has managed just 72 runs in six innings this series, with a highest score of 37, and Alex Hales has been tipped to replace him at the top of the order alongside skipper Alastair Cook.
"Adam Lyth has everyone's confidence to come out here and score runs," Newell said. "He has scored an awful lot of runs for Yorkshire to get into this team and he has a Test match century under his belt."
- APN SPORTS BUREAU
RUNS ON THE BOARD
RUNS SCORED BY AUSSIES DURING THIS ASHES SERIES
385 @ 77.0
354 @ 59.0
269 @ 44.8
123 @ 24.6
106 @ 35.3
98 @ 24.5
94 @ 18.8
73 @ 14.6
49 @ 24.5
45 @ 15.0
41 @ 20.5
29 @ 14.5
29 @ 14.5