Essex v Australians, Tour match, Chelmsford June 26, 2012

Australia cook up a feast


Australians 313 for 9 (Clarke 76, Hussey 67, Topley 4-46) beat Essex 134 (Cummins 3-26) by 179 runs

Australia will hope for similarly brief encounters with Alastair Cook over the next two weeks. So dominant with the bat in his recent appearances as ODI captain of England, not to mention a 766-run Ashes jaunt down under in the last Ashes series, Cook lasted only 15 balls for 5 as the tourists routed Essex at Chelmsford in their final warm-up for the looming NatWest Series which begins at Lord's on Friday.

Cook's conqueror here was the Victorian seamer Clint McKay. Cracked to the backward point boundary early on, he persisted with a back-of-a-length line outside off stump and was rewarded when Cook edged an attempted forcing stroke to Michael Clarke at slip. By that point Mark Pettini had already departed, slicing Brett Lee to third man, and the Australians' towering 313 for 9 was never to be threatened. Ravi Bopara and James Foster came closest to disrupting the procession.

Aside from the early demise of Cook, Australia were also encouraged by a decidedly swift contribution from the 19-year-old Pat Cummins, who beat both Tom Westley and Greg Smith for pace to clatter their stumps. He later nudged the helmet of Reece Topley to demonstrate the aggression so admired by his teammates and coaches. Having earned selection for this fixture ahead of James Pattinson, Cummins is now heavily favoured to play at Lord's, where he may find the slope to his advantage.

Australia had limbered up by rushing beyond 300. The captain Clarke and the seasoned David Hussey did best for the tourists with a pair of half centuries, after David Warner and Shane Watson had sprinted at the start. Matthew Wade and Steve Smith also contributed at the end, leaving George Bailey as the only batsman not to have made a score of any real note in two county innings on the tour so far. His stay was ended by Topley, who caught the eye with his height, bounce and modicum of movement and finished with four wickets.

Lee took the new ball and swung his first two past Pettini, though being right-handed the ball struck Wade's gloves rather than the stumps as it had in two of his first three balls against Irish left-handers at Stormont. McKay took the second over, though it is unlikely he will get such a privilege for long consaidering the form Cummins is in.

Westley lost his off stump to a delivery angled in and moving away, before Ryan ten Doeschate was involved in a mix-up with Bopara and elected to give up his wicket to the run-out instead of his England partner. The gesture was not to benefit Essex too much, as Bopara's stay was ended by a diffident wave of the bat at Watson and a simple catch for Wade.

All Australia's bowlers finished the evening with wickets, Steve Smith's snare to dismiss Foster a particularly laudable piece of fielding as the visitors reached a decent level of sharpness ahead of the first match against England.

Clarke had won the toss on a beautiful summer's afternoon, sending out his third top-order batting combination in as many matches by pairing Watson and Warner to open, with Bailey slated to come in at No. 3 after recovering from a groin strain. The visitors' pace attack comprised Brett Lee and Cummins, who each bowled against Ireland, and Clint McKay who did not.

Warner and Watson were off to a rollicking start, adding 51 in little more than 6 overs as they took advantage of an invitingly short western boundary. A Warner pull shot sailed clear beyond the stands, while a Watson on-drive clanged off the back of an open stand. Mercifully for Essex, Warner would perish for only 26, unable to control a hook towards the more distant fence and being caught in the deep off Graham Napier.

Watson was soon to follow, touching a bouncing delivery from Topley as it arrowed down the legside and offering a catch to Foster. When Bailey cut the promising Topley to an alert Greg Smith at backward point having made only 12, Essex had rather made up for the flowing runs off the first six overs.

Clarke had picked the gap at mid wicket to reach the boundary from his first ball, and with Hussey he set about regrouping. All of the bowlers were to be taken for greater than five runs per over with batting that was more busy than bluster, Clarke timing the ball sweetly across a swift outfield and Hussey punching his strokes with typical purpose. Their stand was worth 137 in 123 balls by the time Clarke decided he'd had enough and retired, and Hussey stayed only another four runs before he swung once too often at Tim Phillips' slow left-arm.

Smith and Wade contributed useful cameos to hurry the tally along towards 300, and Lee put a capstone on the innings by lathering a six to rival those of Watson and Warner before Topley removed his leg stump. There was some evidence of reverse swing late in the innings on a dry pitch, a skill the Australian bowlers would also go on to rehearse.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • rob on June 28, 2012, 7:25 GMT

    HatsforBats said " I actually think Pattinson may develop into a bowling all-rounder down the line." Good on you mate, I see it too and have been saying it for a while. .. I also agree that we Aussies shouldn't be too bullish about our prospects against England, but then again we go into most ODI's feeling at least reasonably confident. It comes from years of doing OK in the format I suppose.

  • Tim on June 28, 2012, 3:55 GMT

    @Mayan820 - yes he worked Kallis over for three overs, and then he also worked over the rest of the 5 wickets he took that innings. Check them out on youtube, all caught behind the wicket or bowled. And yes, in that match, he did bowl better than steyn, philander and morkel in their home conditions. I saw him bowl in the domestic first class final a while back and gave Bailey, Cosgrove, Birt and Cowan a working over - all international standard batsmen. He is better than all those bowlers you mentioned and in ten years time, will have more than 270 wickets that Anderson has. Currently he is bowling within himself as he has come back from a 8 mth lay off. Give him a full year before next years Ashes, Aussies will have the last laugh.

  • John on June 28, 2012, 3:34 GMT

    @AdrianVanDenStael on (June 27 2012, 12:26 PM GMT), I didn't say that Australia should be worried about Cummins "only" taking 3 wickets but I was pointing out that the over-the-top tendencies of some Australian fans should be tempered by the fact that an even younger England bowler took 4 against significantly stronger opposition. As for opportunities, your logic is way beyond flawed. The fact that other Australian bowlers were taking wickets is irrelevant. Cummins bowled 7 overs so he had 42 legal deliveries to take wickets, regardless of what any other bowler may have done. Topley bowled 8 overs so he had 48 deleiveries to take wickets. That makes Cummins' strike rate 14 and Topley's 12, regardless of what anyone else did. I'm not trying to say that Cummins is no good or that Topley is better but that to crow over one performance and dismiss the other is disingenuous.

  • Peter on June 27, 2012, 23:58 GMT

    @5wombats. Chuckles, re: your response to RandyOz (not representing the majority) I seem to recall us selecting Nannes after he played for The Netherlands so it's not the first time, although he was born in Melbourne. BTW, was that a misprint about RN ten Doeschate? First I heard about it? This was really only a warmup game, nothing more, no one needs to read much into it, from either the Aussies or Cook's pov, just that players got to have a stretch & a hit. I would probably wait until after the series before the chest beating by a few from both sides of the fence. Everyone is a winner BEFORE games.

  • kieran on June 27, 2012, 22:14 GMT

    @ EnglishCricket, I was wondering why Finn generally bowled 130's in the recent test against WI? By no means was he express pace during the match, though I know he's capable of quicker. Any injuries he's overcoming?

  • kieran on June 27, 2012, 22:07 GMT

    @ Mayan820, Cummins is 10yrs younger than Anderson, why compare the two?To me he looks a better prospect than Anderson & Steyn did at this stage of their international careers. Also, Aus racking up 300+ plus against Eng has been done a fair few times before; Clarke, Watson, Warner, Huss, & Wade are as good an odi batting lineup as anything England can put on the field.

  • kieran on June 27, 2012, 22:02 GMT

    @ JG2704, I agree re: Pattinson. I see Cummins & Starc as the future leaders of the attack. I actually think Pattinson may develop into a bowling all-rounder down the line.

  • Joe on June 27, 2012, 16:46 GMT

    Steve Finn bowls faster than both Pattinson and Cummins. Unless there's weather interruption, I'm expecting a comfortable Series win from England 4-1 if not 5-0 no questions. Australians will be lucky to achieve a 3-2 series loss ;)"

  • Mayan on June 27, 2012, 15:55 GMT

    300+ runs for Australia against Essex? I am confused as to why this is such a big achievement for Australia, or am I perhaps missing something here? Let the Ausies repeat this score against England on Friday coming and once or twice more and win these games, then we can talk again. As far as P. Cummins is concerned, is he really a better bowler than England's Broad, Anderson, Bresnan and Swan, in any conditions, never mind in England? Really?? While we are on this subject, is he better than South Africa's best in D. Steyn, M. Morkel, Philander and even the new youngster (his name slipped my mind for the moment), in any conditions and in any format of the game? I don't think so! So he worked Kallis over in a good 3 over spell one day in Johannesburg . . . big deal. Literally tens if not hundreds of new international bowlers, from all nationalities, have done exactly the same against the best batsmen in the world throughout the last 7 odd decades, alone.

  • Simon on June 27, 2012, 13:28 GMT

    @RandyOZ -- dude, there really isn't anything that could make you look good, sorry...

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