Derbyshire v Australia A, Tour match, Derby, 1st day July 27, 2012

Cowan hundred leads strong opening day

ESPNcricinfo staff

Derbyshire 57 for 1 trail Australia A 362 for 4 (Cowan 109, Bailey 81*, Burns 74*) by 305 runs

The Australia A batsmen, led by captain Ed Cowan, enjoyed a productive start to their tour of England as they made 362 for 4 against Derbyshire. Cowan laid the platform with 109 and the middle-order built on his work with brisk half-centuries from George Bailey and Joe Burns.

Batting is Australia's biggest concern at the moment and one of the major aims of this trip for Australia A is build knowledge and expertise in English conditions ahead of next year's Ashes. Cowan, who currently holds one of the opening slots in the Test side, prepared for this trip with a short spell with Gloucestershire and carried his good form into this match as he reached three figures off a spritely 123 balls.

Following the early loss of Michael Klinger, caught by fellow Australian Usman Khawaja off Mark Turner, there were substantial partnerships throughout the innings. Cowan and Peter Forrest, who is one of four players in this team who were on the recent one-day tour, added 89 for the second wicket before David Wainwright, the left-arm spinner, removed Forrest for the first of his three wickets.

Shortly after reaching his hundred Cowan was stumped off Wainwright but Bailey, Australia's Twenty20 captain, played a forthright innings that included 12 fours and two sixes to keep the momentum going. With an eye on the future Joe Burns, a highly-rated 22-year-old from Queensland, began his tour promisingly with a brisk 74 including three sixes, two of which came in three balls off Wainwright in the last over before the declaration.

In reply, Derbyshire made a steady start against Mitchell Johnson and Jackson Bird - the former well known to English audiences and the latter who has 53 wickets in eight first-class matches at 16 - but Matt Lineker fell shortly before the close to Mitchell Starc.