Marsh and Smith dominate opening day for Australia

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Updated: February 12, 2014

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Shaun Marsh and Steve Smith gave Australia the early ascendancy at stumps on the opening day of the first Test against hosts South Africa at Centurion Park in Pretoria.

Marsh who is appearing in his first Test in over 2 years was drafted in as a late replacement for the injured Shane Watson, promptly went about his business with a second Test century, vindicating the selectors surprising decision to draft him in.

South Africa won the toss and elected to bowl despite their main strike bowler Dale Steyn suffering from a gastric ailment and the fact that conditions looked perfect for batting made the decision seem all the more questionable. Centurion is however also known for delivering the best of the batting conditions on day 2 and 3 which could very well have been behind Graeme Smith’s decision to take the ball first up.

With Australia reeling slightly at 98/4 it appeared that Smith had made the right call however Marsh and Steve Smith set about rebuilding the innings for the visitors at times with ease.

The pair put on a superb 199 with Marsh finishing the day on 122 and Smith on 91, Australia finishing the day on 297/4.

Steve Smith has enjoyed a golden summer for Australia and repaid some faith that the selectors have shown in him. Coming in at 5 he has already scored 2 hundreds against England and now looks well placed the score a third against the number 1 ranked Proteas.