India vs Australia: Langer hints at Marsh recall for Boxing Day Test

Justin Langer dropped a selection hint as he talked up Mitch Marsh ahead of the third India vs Australia Test at the MCG, starting Wednesday.

Australia all-rounder Mitch Marsh   -  Getty Images

Australia coach Justin Langer felt Virat Kohli was batting at “another level. “That hundred in the first innings at Perth was an unbelievable innings,” he said.

Langer added here on Monday, “Virat’s a great player and great bowlers get out great batsmen. And Nathan Lyon is a great bowler. Both stand up under pressure. Lyon has grown in confidence.”

Imminent return

Asked about the Kohli-Paine spat in Perth, Langer replied, “We know what the expectations are. And the players know that. I thought it was really good. I loved watching that. We saw a bit of the Aussie humour,  call it sledging, banter,  call it what you like. But there was a bit of humour to it and we pride ourselves on that.”

Langer said he had conversed with Steve Smith, who was getting closer to an Australia return. “I’ve seen him face to face. I have spoken to him. That's much more important to me than what I read in the press. I think he's in a very determined place. Obviously, it's been a really tough time for him. but we can't wait to see - can't wait to have him back.”

The Aussie coach said, “He's the Virat Kohli of the Australian cricket team. That's the truth of it.  He's an outstanding player, he's been our captain, he's a fantastic young bloke.”

'Flat pitches produce boring cricket'

Langer was delighted to see some grass on the MCG pitch. He said, "It's good to see some grass. I’ve played Shield cricket here over last six or seven years, seen the Test here, and I’ve said forever that the most important thing in Test cricket are the pitches.”

He observed, “If you have great pitches you’ll have a contest between bat and ball and then Test cricket will be alive and well. Flat pitches produce boring cricket.”

On the choice between Mitchell Marsh and incumbent Peter Handscomb for a place in the Boxing Day eleven, Langer said, "In a perfectly balanced someone who can bowl some overs like Mitch becomes an attractive commodity.”

Langer was surprised that Perth got an 'average’ rating from the match referee. “A couple of balls kept low but the pitch produced such entertaining cricket.”