Australians squeak home in final warmup
Australia won their second warmup game against Queensland at Allan Border Field, Brisbane, today, completing their program of match practice before this week's Super Challenge 2000. The Australians will be facing their 1999 World Cup adversaries South Africa in three one-day games under a closed roof at Colonial Stadium, Melbourne, starting Wednesday.
They didn't have it all their way, however. Chasing a small target of 174, they won the game with thirteen overs in hand, but only one wicket to spare.
Played under the Mercantile Mutual Cup twelve-a-side rules, Australia played Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath, who were rested from Friday's game against the Queenslanders, with Michael Bevan taking the day off.
Queensland captain Jimmy Maher won the toss and batted first, but tight bowling by the Australians saw the home state bundled out for 173 at the end of their fiftieth over. Lee Carseldine (40), opening the batting, was top score for the Queenslanders. Shane Warne (3/24 from eight overs) removed the Queensland middle-order cheaply, with Shane Lee taking 2/36. Brett Lee and Ian Harvey claimed one wicket apiece, while Jason Gillespie (1/28) removed Jamie Hopes to take his first wicket in his comeback to the Australian team.
It was a casual batting display by the Australians, as if this were not the area where they needed practice. No batsman scored more than the 29 achieved by both Adam Gilchrist and Steve Waugh. Ricky Ponting (21 from 13 balls, two fours, two threes) provided a brief cameo early in the innings.
Australia were always well ahead of the required run-rate, but with nine runs to go in the 34th over they lost three wickets in the space of seven deliveries - including Warne for a duck - and found themselves at 169 for 9. Gillespie and Brett Lee levelled the scores with four runs off Bichel's next over before Lee took a single off Prestwidge to win the game.
Former Australian international Andy Bichel was the most successful of the Queensland bowlers, though expensive, taking 3/54 from his ten overs. Another former Australian Test paceman, Scott Muller, was less successful, being removed from the attack after two overs cost him 21 runs.
A good crowd well in excess of a thousand took advantage of free admission to see the two teams in action. The Australian team travel to Melbourne tomorrow morning for more practice and a string of promotional activities.
Queensland continue to perform duty as practice partners for international teams, with two matches against New Zealand at Border Field on Monday and Tuesday. The Black Caps are en route to Singapore for a one-day triseries against Pakistan and South Africa commencing next Sunday.