Marsh marches Aussies to 351 in Durban

Australian captain Steve Smith was dismissed for 56 on day one with the tourists 5-225 at stumps.
Australian captain Steve Smith was dismissed for 56 on day one with the tourists 5-225 at stumps.
Mitchell Marsh has been dismissed for 96 in Australia's 351 in the first Test against South Africa.

Mitchell Marsh has been dismissed for 96 in Australia's 351 in the first Test against South Africa.

Mitch Marsh has fallen one boundary short of his first Test ton overseas, but the reformed allrounder has helped Australia to post a first-innings total of 351 in their series opener against South Africa.

Marsh applied himself diligently in Durban for 265 minutes, only to throw his wicket away during the post-lunch session on day two of the first Test.

Marsh was on 96 when he attempted to smash the ball to the rope but directed it to Morne Morkel at mid-on, with Steve Smith struggling to hide his disbelief in the stands.

It was not an elegant way to end his innings, which featured sharp chances on 42 and 66, but the West Australian's knock was the difference between a sub-par total and something far-more respectable.

Marsh strolled to the crease at 4-151 on Thursday after Smith's dismissal, resumed on Friday morning on 32 and continued to exercise great caution after the Proteas took the second new ball.

Marsh, maligned throughout the early stages of his Test career, is averaging 104 with the bat since his Ashes recall.

"If we can get up to 350 on this wicket, that'd be a really good total," Marsh said before the start of play.

Left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj cleaned up the tail to finish with figures of 5-123.

Marsh survived a testing examination from Kagiso Rabada in Friday's morning session.

Rabada removed Tim Paine with the second new ball and threatened to quickly roll the visitors in a magnificent opening spell of express pace and rearing bounce that belied the slow pitch.

Paine was caught behind and Rabada's next delivery went within a whisker of kissing the top of off stump, with Pat Cummins boldly shouldering arms.

Cummins, promoted above Mitchell Starc after a productive Ashes with the bat, spent almost an hour at the crease but managed only three runs before he was undone by Maharaj.

Starc whacked six boundaries in a knock of 35 before he was bowled by Maharaj with the final ball of the morning session. MITCH MARSH'S TURNAROUND:

* Before Ashes recall: 674 runs at 21.74 from 21 Tests * Since Ashes recall: 416 runs at 104 from 4 Tests

Australian Associated Press