Today's Birthday 31/12

Today's Birthday, December 31: Australian cricketer Geoff Marsh (1958-).

Today's Birthday, December 31: Australian cricketer Geoff Marsh (1958-).

Today's Birthday, December 31: Australian cricketer Geoff Marsh (1958-).

Not even Geoff Marsh, father and biggest supporter of Australian cricketers Shaun and Mitchell, would've dared to dream of a path where both his sons would don the baggy green for Australia this summer.

Yet again dumped from the Australian Test side after countless spurned chances, the Marsh brothers were long shots to play a part in Australia's bid to regain the Ashes on home soil.

But, vindicated in Shaun's recall following a career-defining 120 not out in Adelaide, selectors turned to his oft-maligned brother Mitchell for the third Test in Perth.

The 26-year-old allrounder was brought in as the fifth relief bowler for a batting-friendly WACA deck, having only bowled 22 overs at Sheffield Shield level since recovering from a shoulder reconstruction.

But it was with the bat that Mitchell excelled, blasting a Test personal best 181 to silence his critics and help Australia regain the Urn.

Born in Northam, Western Australia in 1958, Geoff Marsh was raised on a farm near the tiny town of Wandering.

The budding talent would practice in the family nets daily with his mother feeding the ball machine, a thankless task he would later perform for both his sons.

At 19, he made his first-class debut for WA in the 1977-78 Sheffield Shield season and within months gave away Australian Rules football to focus on cricket exclusively.

The gritty top-order batsman finally earned Test selection in 1985 after being on the fringes of the Australian team for several years.

Alongside David Boon and Mark Taylor, the no-frills right hander built a reputation as a solid opening partner and accumulated an average of 33 over his 50-Test career.

Boon infamously caught Marsh, his English tour roommate in 1989, practising his forward defence in front of a mirror wearing nothing but his baggy green.

But it was in the limited overs arena where the 1987 World Cup winning team member really shone, with nine ODI centuries at an average just shy of 40.

Post-retirement in 1994, Marsh coached Australia, Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka.

In 2014, 'Swampy' became the third former Test cricketer in history to have two sons play at the level with Mitchell's debut.

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