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Marsh the catalyst for Test woe: Lawson

AAP logoAAP 11/11/2016 Laine Clark

In a major swipe at the maligned Mitch Marsh, former Test quick Geoff Lawson says Australia will "never" win a Test with a No.6 batsman averaging in their 20s.

Lawson has backed Callum Ferguson to replace Marsh in the second Test against South Africa in Hobart, saying the allrounder's poor form has been the catalyst for Australia's four-game losing Test streak.

Marsh is under pressure to maintain his spot in the side after his 0 and 26 in Australia's 177-run first Test loss in Perth.

His batting average has dipped to 23.18 after 19 Tests.

"Australia can not have a No.6 who averages in the low 20s," Lawson told Sky Sports Radio.

"You can't win Test matches, you never have.

"We have a No.6 who is averaging 20 and that is one of the reasons why we are struggling in Test cricket recently."

Australia's XI will be finalised before the toss on Saturday.

"You can't set the precedent and say 'oh his bowling is handy', which it is, it's very handy," Lawson said of Marsh.

"But having said that he is not getting four-fors and five-fors, he's getting the odd one or two.

"He's supposed to be a batsman who bowls a bit.

"If you were a No.7 averaging 20 they would be looking at you - you want your No.8 to average 20."

Lawson dipped his hat to Ferguson who overcame two knee reconstructions to be on the cusp of a Test debut.

The NSW assistant coach even backed Ferguson for a baggy green ahead of Blues rising stars Nic Maddinson and Kurtis Patterson.

"They have Test cricket futures in front of them," Lawson said of Patterson and Maddinson.

"They certainly have the talent. They haven't got the experience.

"I like Callum Ferguson.

"It has taken a long time for him to get over that knee injury and be back in pretty good form."

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