Ashes 2015: Australia's Shaun Marsh shines against Kent

By Sam SheringhamBBC Sport in Canterbury
Shaun Marsh
Shaun Marsh has played 14 Test matches for Australia, averaging 35.79 with the bat
Tour match, Canterbury, day one of four:
Australia 348-3: Marsh 114, Rogers 84, Hunn 3-78
Kent: yet to bat

Shaun Marsh made his claim for a place in Australia's Test team with a century against Kent on the first day of their Ashes tour.

The left-handed opener, 31, scored 114 as Australia racked up 348-3 after being put in to bat on a true pitch under cloudless skies in Canterbury.

Chris Rogers, vying with Marsh for an opening spot, made 84, while captain Michael Clarke scored 56 off 73 balls.

Steve Smith was unbeaten on 71 at the close, with Shane Watson eight not out.

Clarke's men are playing Kent, who are bottom of Division Two of the County Championship, as part of their preparation for their defence of the Ashes, with the first of five Tests starting in Cardiff on 8 July.

Marsh cashes in

Marsh, the son of former Australia opener Geoff, scored a century on his Test debut against Sri Lanka in 2011 but has struggled to hold down a place in the Australia Test side, playing only 14 times in four years.

But here, showing excellent judgement outside off-stump, he drove and cut his way to three figures in a chanceless innings.

He overtook Rogers' score with a booming drive down the ground and brought up his century off 172 balls.

Looking to accelerate after tea, however, he took a wild heave at Matt Hunn - playing only his fourth first-class match for Kent - and was expertly caught by a diving Daniel Bell-Drummond at deep point.

Rogers lets his bat do the talking

Chris Rogers
Chris Rogers made 84 on the opening day of Australia's tour in England, at Canterbury

Rogers put the furore over his reported involvement in the attempted sale of hospitality packagesexternal-link behind him with a confident innings, littered with fluent cover drives.

The 37-year-old, scorer of three hundreds in the last two Ashes series, missed Australia's 2-0 victory over West Indies because of concussion.

But he is hoping to reprise his Ashes opening partnership with David Warner, who was rested for this match along with Adam Voges and the in-form pace duo of Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood.

Rogers was dropped twice by Adam Riley - on 21 and 79 - but struck 11 boundaries in a partnership of 181 with Marsh before he was trapped lbw by a Hunn delivery that nipped back into his pads.

Clarke and Smith show their class

Kent's reward for dismissing the two openers was the arrival of Australia's two finest batsmen.

Steve Smith, who tops the ICC batting rankings after five hundreds in six Tests, signed on with a powerful pull for six, while Clarke scored freely on all sides of the wicket.

Their entertaining stand was briefly interrupted by an over-exuberant supporter, who darted onto the outfield in swimming trucks carrying a tent.

His attempt to set up camp on the outfield was swiftly halted by the stewards, but not before he attracted one of the biggest cheers of the day from a crowd of more than 5,000.

There was one more moment for the Kent faithful to savour before the close as Clarke nicked Hunn down the leg side and was caught by Sam Billings.

What they said

Australia opener Shaun Marsh: "I haven't really thought too much about selection. It was nice batting out there with Chris today. I thought we worked really well together and kept each other going. I thought he batted really well so we'll just have to wait and see what happens over the next couple of weeks.

"We want to play the brand of cricket we've been playing for a little bit and I thought today was a good step towards that. We've got a really important day tomorrow. Hopefully we can bat a bit more time and then the bowlers can come out and have a crack as well."

Kent bowler Matt Hunn: "I was looking forward to this match ever since we found out we were going to be playing Australia. Luckily enough I was given the nod, and I'm really pleased to have picked up three wickets.

"There was no real margin for error at all, but it was good to test yourself against the best, because then you know where you are at. It was a challenging day, but a good one."

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