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Aussie screamers a boost for Test side

AAP logoAAP 3/11/2016 Justin Chadwick

From shambolic to sublime - what a difference a couple of catches make.

Australia's fielding standards have been heavily slammed at various points over the past year.

Former Test star Ian Chappell even described the team as the worst Australian fielding side since the mid 1980s after watching a series of catches go down against New Zealandlast year.

But if Thursday's display against South Africa in the first Test at the WACA is anything to go by, Australian cricket fans are set to be treated to a catching masterclass this summer.

Allrounder Mitch Marsh kicked off proceedings in just the fourth ball of the day when he took a brilliant diving catch at gully to remove Stephen Cook for a duck.

His older brother Shaun wasn't to be outdone.

Fielding at short leg, Shaun pulled in a sensational one-handed grab just millimetres from the ground to remove the dangerous Temba Bavuma for 51.

Adam Voges also pulled in a sharp catch while fielding at slip to send Proteas skipper Faf du Plessis on his way.

But it wasn't all perfect for Australia.

Usman Khawaja grassed a tough, one-handed chance while fielding at square leg, while David Warner and Nathan Lyon both missed run-out chances.

Nevertheless, the fielding performance was an overwhelming positive for Australia, and one they hope will set the tone for the rest of the summer.

"There's been a little bit made of our fielding. We always put a lot of work into that, and the boys held onto some tough chances from the first over," Australian paceman Mitchell Starc said.

"Mitch Marsh's catch there was as good as he's taken, and it lifted the boys a bit as well.

"Our catching was good. Our fielding was pretty good. I don't think there were too many blemishes there."

Australia enter day two at 0-105, with David Warner unbeaten on 73, and Shaun Marsh on 29.

South Africa were dismissed for 242, with the visitors lucky to even reach that mark after slumping to 5-81.

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