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Prodigal son storms back into spotlight
Shaun Marsh on his way to 148. Pic: AAP

Centurion has never been a happy hunting ground for the Marsh family. Until now.

Geoff Marsh coached Australia to a Test loss there in 1997 and Sri Lanka to an even more thumping defeat 15 years later.

And Shaun Marsh didn't get the chance to play on his sole visit to the picturesque ground on a hill outside Pretoria in South Africa's jacaranda belt.

A key figure in the ill-fated Champions League campaign 16 months ago, Marsh was made a scapegoat for the behaviour of his Perth Scorchers teammates and was dumped from the team that played the final match there.

Those episodes can now be forgotten after Shaun Marsh's 148 in the first Test provided one of the greatest comeback stories in Australian cricket history.

For Marsh senior, the century provided even deeper emotions than Shaun's hundred on debut in Colombo three years ago.

"You know the importance of every innings because every time you play for Australia you are expected to score runs but that was a really important innings for him," Geoff Marsh said.

"Scoring a hundred against the best team in the world after everything that has happened in the past week was a really big effort. It was fantastic."

Shaun Marsh's Test career seemed over after his dire series against India two years ago and even his recall to the squad, a decision made on instinct rather than form given his lack of Sheffield Shield runs, was stymied by a calf injury that forced him to remain behind when the team travelled.

The next few days were a whirlwind of activity.

Marsh worked around the clock to get his calf right, was cleared to play in the Big Bash League final where his unbeaten 63 was pivotal in Perth's win and then was not only called back to South Africa but was parachuted into the rejigged top order.

And the dramas weren't over. Marsh's calf stood up to the strain but he tore a side muscle early in the innings and was forced to hobble for much of his double century stand with Steve Smith.

The pain did not deter Marsh, and may have spurred him on, though his father believed a combination of good ball-striking form, the positive influence of his fiancee, Rebecca O'Donovan, and WA coach Justin Langer were key elements in his performance.

"His career has been up and down with injury and other things but he is really settled in his life with a beautiful fiancee and he is really happy," he said.

"Justin has also been terrific. Justin talks to him about life and they get on very well together.

"He went in knowing he was short of four-day runs but he has been batting really well lately.

"The thing for Shaun now is consistency. It is about staying on the park. He has built up and built up and come back into the team and then been injured and had to climb the mountain again."

"Scoring a hundred against the best team in the world … was a really big effort."" *Geoff Marsh *on his son Shaun's century in South Africa