Pressure on Watto after Marsh’s 2nd ton

Mitch Marsh has been running drinks for Australia since being dropped for Shane Watson during the World Cup.

But having started his Ashes tour with back-to-back tons, Marsh may be set for a role reversal when the Ashes starts in Cardiff on Wednesday.

Darren Lehmann noted last week it would be a “tight” call as to whether Marsh or Watson feature in the series opener.

It got a whole lot tighter in Chelmsford on day one of the four-day clash with Essex, when Marsh finished 136 not out and pushed the tourists to 6-440.

“It’s been great to get an opportunity,” Marsh said.

“I’m not putting any pressure on myself … if you take enough wickets and make enough runs the selectors are going to pick you at some stage.

“I’m just enjoying it and it’s a privilege to be on this tour.”

There was little more the 23-year-old could have done to turn up the heat up on Watson during the UK’s hottest July day on record.

If his side’s struggles with the bat were more profound, Marsh’s steadying influence would have been more impressive.

But steering the tourists from 4-204 to 6-440 is nothing to sneer at, especially given he saw off the second new ball.

“I think I have matured, the coach might not think the same thing,” Marsh said.

“As you grow up I think you start making better decisions on and off the field.”

There were three lives on 13, 98 and 128 in the 151-ball dig.

But Watson, who scored 52 and chopped on a wide ball from Ryan ten Doeschate, also received a reprieve on 10.

Marsh’s only big error was being responsible for a mix-up that ended Adam Voges’ innings.

“I almost ran (Peter Nevill) out too,” he said.

“Maybe it’s a few nerves … I owe my Western Australia skipper a beer I think.”

Last week Marsh blasted a 93-ball century against an impotent attack on a docile pitch, when the game against Kent had already become a glorified training session on day three.

It was an incredible display of power hitting – Marsh reached triple figures by scoring 77 runs in the same time Watson managed five.

This time around the contest still had a bit of sting in it.

Yes, Jesse Ryder was handed the new ball to send down some dibbly-dobblers.

Yes, stand-in skipper Ravi Bopara noted after sending the visitors in he couldn’t remember a better Chelmsford wicket in some time.

Yet Australia were in a degree of trouble early on despite a dashing 94 from David Warner.

Chris Rogers was caught behind for 21, while Michael Clarke departed for a golden duck at No.3.

Marsh started cautiously then opened his shoulders, bringing up three figures with a lofted six that implanted the ball on the roof of a food stall.

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