Marcus Harris’s Impressive Century Strengthens Case for David Warner’s Replacement

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Marcus Harris, who is among those pushing to replace David Warner in Australia’s Test side, made the most of an extra red-ball innings with a brisk century on the second day of Pakistan’s warm-up match against a Victoria XI. Harris struck 126 off 131 balls at Junction Oval, the innings including 22 fours and six, ahead of the selectors needing to make a call on a new opener early next month after Warner retires following the Sydney Test. Whether the innings has any bearing on selection remains to be seen, but Harris made full use of the hastily arranged fixture which the PCB had asked for. The game was played behind closed doors, which was understood to be due to challenges of finding enough staff to open the venue at short notice rather than the visitors not wanting anyone to attend. Although not a first-class match, the century adds to Harris’ impressive record at the ground where he averages 79.85 in four-day cricket although it is widely regarded as one of the flatter pitches in the country. Harris, who doesn’t hold a BBL contract, had an up and down first part of the season for Victoria where he averaged 31.33 in five Sheffield Shield matches. He also faced Pakistan for the Prime Minister’s XI in Canberra where he made 49. He is one of three specialist openers in the mix to replace Warner, alongside Cameron Bancroft and Matt Renshaw, although there remains a chance the selectors opt for a batting order reshuffle to accommodate Cameron Green. However, so far, the potential candidates for promotion from within the current XI have been lukewarm to the idea. Harris played the most recent of his 14 Tests against England, at Sydney, in early 2022 following which he became the fall guy to accommodate Usman Khawaja after he’d returned in that same match with twin hundreds. He has since been a regular reserve batter around the Test squad, including this year’s Ashes tour, and holds a CA central contract.

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