Marsh shows steely nerve
Mitch Marsh on his way to 67. Pic: Getty Images

"The pain of discipline is nothing like the pain of disappointment" reads the motivational saying tattooed in Arabic on to Michael Clarke's forearm.

Mitch Marsh can relate to both aspects of the Test captain's motto after his experiences of the past few months.

Marsh's bowling is still restricted by his battle to overcome spinal stress fractures and he was embarrassed in July to be sent home from the centre of excellence in Brisbane after a big night out.

The disappointment continued on Sunday when WA lost their opening one-dayer despite Marsh's blazing 78 providing a barnstorming finish to the run chase against NSW.

Yet it was all discipline and little disappointment about his performance at the WACA Ground yesterday.

Seven months after NSW took 171 overs and an entire Sheffield Shield match to claim three West Australian wickets, a new Blues team brought a new broom which swept away three Warriors before lunch.

Marsh was soon in as well but defied NSW's potent attack for most of the innings as he contributed 67 to WA's fighting 217. The NSW openers survived 11 deliveries before bad light ended play early.

It was not an imposing total but one that provided a healthy dividend against nagging seam bowling on a pitch as helpful as expected in the only shield match in Perth ever played in September.

Watched intently by national selector John Inverarity, and at close range by fellow selector Clarke throughout his 211-minute stay, Marsh revealed signs of the steel spine that coach Lachlan Stevens wants to build in his team.

It was not until the revitalised Doug Bollinger took the second new ball that Marsh was found wanting, but he had contributed 10 boundaries by that stage and a level of commitment that has been in scarce supply in recent seasons.

While the resurgent Bollinger claimed both Marsh brothers, with Shaun nicking an outswinger early in the day to give him at least a three-wicket haul in every match he has played in Perth in the past eight years, few bowlers were better equipped to exploit the conditions than three-Test trundler Trent Copeland.

The bowler has the best economy rate of any current shield bowler to have taken more than 50 wickets and he applied a stranglehold on the innings to create his twin successes.

Liam Davis and Adam Voges put NSW to the sword earlier this year but had mixed fortunes yesterday.

Davis reached 303 not out against the Blues in February but he appeared a less composed player as he slashed unsuccessfully several times before giving Copeland the opening wicket of the season.

Voges has had little fortune with umpires at the WACA in recent seasons but he survived an early lbw scare before steadying the shaky innings with a composed 44 that lifted his team from extreme danger at 3-48.

The West Australian

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