Canterbury: Shaun Marsh marked Australia’s opening match of their Ashes tour of England with a century against Kent at Canterbury yesterday as he staked a claim to retain his Test place.
Australia, having been sent into bat by Kent, were 236 for one at tea on the first day of this scheduled four-day clash.
Marsh was 114 not out and Steven Smith, a former Kent 2nd XI player but now ranked as the world’s number one Test batsman, 26 not out.
The only batsman dismissed in the innings so far was Chris Rogers, out for 84.
Marsh replaced Rogers for Australia’s recent 2-0 series win in the Caribbean after his fellow left-handed opener was concussed while batting in the nets and both batsmen are now vying for the opening berth alongside David Warner ahead of the first Test against England in Cardiff on July 8.
Rogers found himself having to apologise on Wednesday after he unwittingly contravened ground regulations by trying to re-sell tickets for next month’s second Test at Lord’s as part of a hospitality package.
But Rogers said the incident would not affect his cricket.
“It has been a bit of a distraction, but the cricket starts tomorrow (Thursday) and I am pretty good at just getting on with it, so I am not too worried.”
He proved as good as his word during a 150-ball innings, including 11 fours, which featured several fine drives although he was dropped in the slips on 21 by Adam Riley off Australia-born paceman Mitchell Claydon.
Rogers seemed set for a century but fell 16 runs short when he was lbw playing back to seamer Matt Hunn to end a first-wicket stand of 181.
But Marsh, the son of former Australia opener Geoff Marsh, pressed on to an untroubled century off 172 balls including 12 fours, having then batted for just over three-and-a-half hours.
The pitch looked a good one to bat on but, with Kent bottom of the Second Division of the County Championship, home skipper Sam Northeast’s decision after winning the toss to delay his side’s confrontation with an Australia attack featuring fast bowlers Mitchell Johnson, Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle was understandable.