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Marsh ton makes tricky call for next Test

AAP logoAAP 15/08/2016 Will Knight

You make a Test hundred, your spot in the side is safe, right?

Shaun Marsh certainly hopes so, but given Australia's batting woes in Sri Lanka, the same mindset from the selectors that earned the left-hander a call-up in Colombo might also mean he misses out in his home town of Perth.

Coach Darren Lehmann admitted just after the team announcement for the third Test that Marsh and Moises Henriques were included in the XI because of their strength facing spin bowling.

Australia had been brutally exposed by Sri Lanka's spinners in Kandy and Galle, extending their losing streak away to subcontinental teams to eight straight Tests.

Marsh duly justified his inclusion in the Sinhalese Sports Club clash by making a composed 130 on a typically bone-dry subcontinental wicket.

Lehmann and skipper Steve Smith conceded after the 229-run hammering in Galle that something needed to change, and a "horses for courses" selection policy followed.

This paved the way for a batsman best suited to the subcontinent's slow, parched tracks, and Joe Burns and Usman Khawaja, who had struggled the most on tour, were axed.

However, the pair proved last Australian summer they are classy players of pace bowling on faster, bouncier pitches.

Khawaja was in the form of his life, racking up 713 runs in eight innings in Australasia, while in Australia's last Test before the Sri Lankan tour, Burns made 170 and 65 against New Zealand in Christchurch.

"It's a tough call on those two younger guys, but it's only for this Test match," Lehmann said.

So despite Marsh's high-quality century, he's no certainty for Australia's Test against South Africa at the WACA in November.

Unfortunately for Marsh, he's become accustomed to being axed.

The 33-year-old has been dropped five times from the Test team since making his debut in 2011.

In his previous Test, he belted 182 against the West Indies in Hobart, but was left out for the second Test when Khawaja returned from a hamstring injury.

But one thing's for sure - he's in the box seat for the four-Test tour of India in early 2017.

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