WA caretaker coach Adam Griffith has praised the increased maturity of young all-rounder Mitch Marsh after his cameo put WA in a strong position on the second day of the Sheffield Shield clash with South Australia at the WACA Ground.
Marsh scored 73, then snared two wickets in the third session yesterday as the Redbacks slumped to 6-209 at stumps - still 191 adrift of WA's first innings of 9 (dec)-400 and 41 short of avoiding the follow-on.
The match is Griffith's sole game in charge of the Warriors, with former WA and Australian run machine Justin Langer expected to be announced as the team's new coach as soon as today.
But the last two days give Griffith hope that the team he hands to Langer has turned the corner.
"We spoke about building pressure and being better for longer than the opposition and I think apart from a little lapse in the middle session today, we have been strong and really focused in what we have done," Griffith said.
Marsh started the day on 51 not out and added a further 22 before he was trapped lbw.
After an expensive first spell, he then dismissed Callum Ferguson with a lifter through to wicket-keeper Tom Triffitt.
Danger man Dan Christian top-edged a pull that Triffitt also caught to cap Marsh's day.
"The pleasing thing for Mitchell was that when Nathan (Coulter-Nile) was going hard yesterday he had the ability to back off and drop a gear and control his innings a bit more and he didn't need to take that lead role in the partnership as he is accustomed to doing - being the aggressor," Griffith said.
"That was really encouraging to see him mature in that way."
Marsh had found himself in an unwanted spotlight after the events of South Africa in recent weeks and Griffith said he had to make his actions speak for him.
"I think we have moved on from South Africa," he said. "Mitchell today has been fantastic with 70-odd and now he has got two wickets as well."
Marsh wasn't the only person to make things happen. Triffitt took a brilliant one-handed catch down low to his right off the bowling of Mitchell Johnson to send opener Sam Raphael on his way.
Then Coulter-Nile produced some fielding brilliance, hitting the stumps from side-on to dismiss Phil Hughes, who had batted superbly for 92 in another reminder to national selectors.