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August 28, 2008
Australians 177 (M Hussey 69, Sullivan 3-37) beat Australian Institute of Sports 123 (Hill 34, Johnson 3-5) by 54 runs
Michael Hussey and Mitchell Johnson showed little rust after a seven-week break as Australia cruised to victory in their only warm-up match in Darwin as they prepare to take on Bangladesh. In a low-scoring contest on a slow pitch, Australia beat the Australian Institute of Sports by 54 runs thanks largely to Johnson, who tore through the less experienced side with 3 for 5.
Hussey was the only man to master the tricky conditions at the Marrara Cricket Ground, where the three-match ODI series begins on Saturday. Hussey made 69 as Australia ground their way to 177 - they were eventually dismissed in the 50th over - in their first real hit-out since returning from the Caribbean in early July.
Cameron White provided some support with 31, while the Queensland fast bowler Grant Sullivan made best use of the up-and-down pitch for the AIS and collected 3 for 37. But Sullivan's former Bulls team-mate Johnson proved the difference in class between the teams with his four-over spell.
David Hussey picked up 2 for 15 with his part-time offspin as his rookie Victoria colleague Michael Hill top scored for the AIS with 34. No other AIS batsman could post more than 16 and it took Australia only 33.5 overs to wrap up the innings for 123.
Johnson's bowling was a positive sign for Australia, who will be without their spearhead Brett Lee for the three ODIs. Johnson and his fellow left-armer Nathan Bracken will help lead the attack in Lee's absence, while the batting department is missing Ricky Ponting and Matthew Hayden.
"At the moment we're putting out the strongest team we've got - injury and personal circumstances have come in - but for us this is the best side we've got on the paddock," Bracken told the Northern Territory News. "Losing Brett's a massive loss for the team and it's up to the guys who come in and take the reins, including myself, to put their hands up."
Bracken said there was no chance Australia would take their opponents lightly on Saturday. Bangladesh have beaten Australia only once in 13 one-day clashes but the loss was so unexpected - a five-wicket defeat in Cardiff in 2005 - that it sticks in the minds of Australia's players.
"We want to win every series we play in, it doesn't matter who we're playing, we want to win and win convincingly," Bracken said. "They've done it [upset Australia] before, but we've got to go out and perform. If they pressure us then we've got to match them."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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