Marcus Harris returned to Perth in grand style, scoring his maiden fifty as Australia dominated proceedings against India on the first day of the second Test at the New Perth stadium. The left-hander, who had looked solid in the first Test in Adelaide with a couple of 26s, took 15 balls to get off then mark but once he got his eye in, he looked solid and scored at a decent rate. The youngster got going with a couple of boundaries off Ishant Sharma and gained in confidence. Harris neared his fifty with three boundaries off Umesh Yadav but on the lunch break, he looked in sublime touch by drilling Mohammed Shami to the deep extra cover fence twice. Harris reached his landmark by nudging Shami to the leg side for a single and it completed a remarkable journey for him.
The knock by Harris and his selection in the Test squad for the first two games against India had a story behind. His inclusion reunited him with Australia coach Justin Langer and both these individuals shared a tumultuous relationship during their days together in Western Australia.
Before playing for Victoria, Harris was an integral part of Western Australia for six years. The left-hander had a great start, becoming the youngest Australian to hit a 150 in first-class cricket when he smashed 157 against Queensland in 2010/11 at the age of 18. However, he was plagued by inconsistency and in 42 Sheffield Shield Games. Till 2016, Harris scored just four centuries and had a poor average of 28. This led to Harris moving to Victoria.
His inconsistency led Langer, then the coach at Western Australia, to lament to a newspaper in 2016, “His performances have been mediocre with flashes of brilliance. He has played more than 40 matches for WA and scored just four centuries. That must be frustrating for him, as it is for the coaches and fans. He leaves with our best wishes and the hope that he can one day play for Australia.”
Langer’s words have come true and the youngster has shone admirably on the big stage.