Hobart: Shaun Marsh batted himself into contention for next month`s World Cup with a match-winning solo effort in Australia`s 46-run win over England on Friday at the Bellerive Oval.
Marsh, left out of Australia`s World Cup squad named on Tuesday and the only player not in that squad playing today, posted his second one-day international century as Australia made 230 from 48.2 overs after being sent in to bat by England.
In reply, England never recovered from an early double-strike by paceman Doug Bollinger (4-28), who also contributed valuable tail-end runs with the bat. They were dismissed for just 184 in 45 overs as Australia took a 2-0 lead in the seven-match series.
But the win came at considerable cost for Australia, with spinner Nathan Hauritz, in his first international of the season, appearing to dislocate his right shoulder in the field and place his World Cup hopes in jeopardy.
All summer, Australia`s best performances have relied on just one or two brilliant individual efforts.
In game one of the series, it was Shane Watson`s 161 not out, and this time it was the recalled Marsh.
Batting at number six, the left-handed Marsh brought up his century in the best fashion possible, lofting Michael Yardy over mid-wicket for six from the 101st delivery he faced, having hit the previous two balls for four.
Marsh was the last man to fall, caught on the boundary having faced 114 balls, hitting eight fours and two sixes.
The home side were in deep trouble at 142-8, before Marsh and number 10 Bollinger rallied to the cause by adding an unlikely 88, a record ninth-wicket stand for Australia in ODIs.
Not for the first time in this southern hemisphere summer, Australia`s top order was in early disarray, with captain Michael Clarke`s atrocious season in all forms of the game continuing as he fell for just 10.
Marsh, called into today`s team to replace the injured Mike Hussey, strode to the wicket with the home side in deep trouble at 33-4.
The left-hander struck the ball well from the time he arrived at the crease and looked a class above any of his top order teammates in a performance that will have done his chances of replacing Hussey in the World Cup squad no harm at all.
Hussey is in increasing doubt for the tournament after this week undergoing surgery to repair a severe hamstring tear.
Marsh survived a close shave on 23 from the bowling of James Tredwell, when he was given not out by the third umpire on a very close stumping appeal.
He and Cameron White put on 100 for the fifth wicket, but the batting collapsed again when White was caught and bowled for 45 by Michael Yardy, as Australia lost 4-9 to slump to 142-8.
Promising paceman Ajmal Shahzad celebrated his inclusion in England`s World Cup squad by claiming 3-43, including the prized wickets of openers Shane Watson (5) and Brad Haddin (5).
England got off to a solid start, but Bollinger removed Andrew Strauss (lbw) for 19 and with his next delivery bowled Kevin Pietersen for a golden duck.
The tourists were 36-3 and never really recovered.