Mitch Marsh leads by example as WA surge on opening day of Sheffield Shield clash

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Mitch Marsh led from the front for WA.

MITCH Marsh urged WA to bounce back hard after their gruelling loss to NSW last week.

And he wanted to lead by example.

The Warriors skipper achieved both goals yesterday as his top order put South Aust-ralia to the sword on one of the most placid day-one WACA Ground pitches in recent seasons.

Marsh’s 95 included two brutal sixes in the over he was dismissed as he attempted to bring up his first WACA century with a third massive blow.

But steel-hard opener Cam Bancroft proved to be an immovable object as his unbeaten 161 steered the Warriors to 5-381 last night.

It was the highest first-day score at the ground since WA reached 5-388 against Tasmania nearly a quarter of a century ago and came after Marsh won just the second toss of a captaincy career that started two months ago in the JLT Cup one-day tournament.

Bancroft’s ninth Sheffield Shield century came at an opportune time with the national selectors about to finalise their squad for the first Ashes Test at the Gabba next week.

He played the role of anvil to Marsh’s hammer during their 139-run stand that swept all momentum from the Redbacks.

The visitors operated without any catchers and four fieldsmen on the fence for an extended period as the bludgeoning Marsh and forensic Bancroft raced along at better than five runs an over.

Marsh is renowned for his front-foot hitting but he displayed a more deft touch on the back foot with many of his 14 boundaries coming from crisp cut shots.

His brutal hitting prompted Daniel Worrall to launch a bumper assault that proved effective when the WA captain wafted a faint touch down the leg side.

Marsh lifted two previous deliveries into the empty seats at fine leg.

Shaun Marsh was not able to find the fluent touch that marked his early batting this season but repelled the new ball for 30 minutes until playing on to Joe Mennie’s fourth ball as he tried to leave a lifting delivery.

No.3 Hilton Cartwright also has his eyes on the Gabba but was left in limbo after a middling innings of 35 ended when he dragged Chadd Sayers back on to his stumps.

Ashton Turner was the victim of a poor umpiring decision in Sydney and was bemused again when he was given out caught low down at slip after an effortless 36.

Marcus Stoinis was recalled after missing the NSW match and was in imperious form as he cracked four boundaries in a rapid 22 before giving Kane Richardson his sole success.

Swing bowler Andrew Holder was included for his debut when Jason Behrendorff withdrew from the team after complaining of back pain.

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