Eng Lions v Aus A, 1st unofficial Test, Old Trafford, 4th day August 10, 2012

Klinger digs in after Bairstow blows

Paul Edwards at Old Trafford

England Lions 315 (Woakes 92) and 315 for 6 dec (Bairstow 139, Root 70, Kieswetter 66*) drew with Australia A 277 (Coan 99, Kerrigan 6-59) and 144 for 4 (Klinger 65*)

This game ended rather as though it was the conclusion to the first major skirmish in a five-match series. Asked to score 354 runs in a minimum of 64 overs, Australia A treated England's lunchtime declaration as nothing more than a rhetorical question and were perfectly justified in doing so.

Having managed a rate of just 2.81 runs an over in their first innings, the tourists were never going to embrace the challenge of rattling along at 5.53 an over in their second. Clearly, therefore, Ed Cowan's batsmen were not set a target; they were set a task, that of surviving two sessions against the England A attack. They did the job reasonably well, finishing the match on 144 for 4. For their part, the home side could argue that it is even more important not to risk defeat in the first of what is only a two-match series. The sides begin the second game at Edgbaston next Tuesday.

Australia A lost four wickets in their second innings but these successes were moments when the game awoke with a startle before settling back into an increasingly deep sleep: Cowan, who had looked very impressive in making 99 in the first innings, nicked a fine ball from James Harris straight to Samit Patel at second slip in the tenth over; conversely, Liam Davis, who had not caught the eye on Wednesday, batted smoothly for his 43 runs before he edged Patel to Jonny Bairstow, who took his third fine slip catch of the match.

Tom Cooper conjured his own dismissal, when his sweep off James Tredwell ricocheted to the suddenly ubiquitous Patel at silly point; and two overs before the players shook hands Tim Paine fatally snicked Stuart Meaker to Tredwell, who was then fielding at slip

For most of the innings Michael Klinger batted with studied care and ended with 65 not out off 148 balls. He added 60 runs in 27 overs for the second wicket with Davis and 38 for the fourth with Paine. Klinger's occasional acts of aggression, such as his straight six off Tredwell, were far outnumbered by shots which revealed a careful defence and a tight technique, the type of batting, in other words, that has distinguished matches between England and Australia for well over a century.

Eoin Morgan's attack stuck to its task but Tredwell and Simon Kerrigan never threatened to cause the dam-burst of wickets their alliance had prompted in the first innings. Patel bowled only six overs in the match and will probably not be complaining too loudly this evening. The Old Trafford wicket and square have been examined to perdition at almost every interval by a group of pitch inspectors this week, but the strip that will, apparently, be used for next year's Ashes Test held up very well and certainly harboured no demons on the final afternoon.

The morning's play saw the Lions batsmen prosper, no one more so than Bairstow, who took his overnight 73 not out to 139 in 75 minutes' savage batting before he gave Peter Forrest a maiden first-class wicket when he edged the medium-pacer to Paine.

The Yorkshireman dispatched Jon Holland's second ball of the morning through midwicket for four and it served almost as a declaration of supremacy. He later stroked Mitchell Johnson over square-leg for six with an easeful flick. The ball was almost feathered but it went miles. Bairstow's innings, which included 20 fours and a couple of sixes, may not win the him a recall to the Test side but it revealed, once again, his remarkable ability to make international bowlers look like journeymen.

"Hopefully Jonny's innings will have reminded him and us as to the talent he has in his game," David Parsons, England's performance director, said. "You always worry how players will respond to being left out, and he would have been very disappointed when that happened. But he got a hundred for Yorkshire recently and and played positively here. When his time comes next, who knows when it will be, hopefully that experience of the three Test matches he's had will have done him the world of good."

It was not a comfortable morning for the Australia A attack. Slow left-armer Holland gained some reward for his accuracy and ended the innings with 3 for 89, but Johnson was wayward and went for 75 in 11 overs. This was in sharp contrast to his excellent display in the first innings. And indeed, when Bairstow was not flaying the bowling to the cranes, scaffolding and half-built stands that surround Old Trafford, Craig Kieswetter was doing so. The Somerset keeper made 66 off 94 deliveries and whacked Cooper for two sixes in an over as the Lions racked up 157 runs in 34 overs prior to the declaration.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Michael on August 12, 2012, 23:48 GMT

    Nice to see Australia able to hold out against spin for a few overs, unlike in the first innings. It's increasingly looking like being the most effective way to dismiss an Australian side - very few batsmen seem to be able to score comfortably against spin. Hopefully the recent workshop will help. Good to see Bairstow getting some runs - he probably didn't expect Pietersen to be left out of the England side, but scoring a century in his last innings will serve him well against South Africa.

  • Andrew on August 12, 2012, 23:10 GMT

    @jezzastyles - I agree, it was a moral victory to England, certainly not dominant. It was unlikely that ther'd be an outcome after not getting a full day in on Day 1, combined with a slow 1st innings from England.

  • Jeremy on August 12, 2012, 10:17 GMT

    @Munkeymomo - it's a shame it wasn't a 5-dayer?? Both teams entered the game knowing it was only a 4-dayer, and neither side, especially ENG in their 1st innings, seemed inclined to go after a win. As for domination, I'd say more 60/40 the Lions way (at the most), but this was not a dominant performance (like the 1st test ENG vs. SA - now that was a case of true dominance).

  • Andrew on August 12, 2012, 7:42 GMT

    IMO - a straight comparison between Woakes & Bresnan, suggests far more upside in Woakes. Bresnan has great attitude & has undoubtably lifted being in the National set up, but could be argued to have overperformed. Woakes impresses me muchly!

  • John on August 12, 2012, 5:14 GMT

    @jmcilhinney on (August 11 2012, 15:39 PM GMT), I actually meant "it's in limited-overs that Johnson's form has NOT dissipated altogether".

  • Jeremy on August 11, 2012, 23:03 GMT

    This game was always gonna be a draw after the Lions began the game with a very poor run rate. AUS should have settled in and amassed a truly massive score, but they weren't good enough to do so. As usual, the batting didn't really deliver, no-one scored a hundred. What can AUS take out of the game - not much. Klinger did well, but he's only a short-term prospect given his age. Cowan choked on 99. Forrest, if he's one of the genuine prospects for the future, then our batting pool of talent has run dry. The bowlers did OK given the depleted nature of the attack. Even if MJ has an extended contract, why bother taking him. Just pay him out and tell him to move back to state cricket, extract the digit, and learn some consistency. A pretty even match that was thoroughly boring.

  • Mark on August 11, 2012, 22:10 GMT

    Domination by the lions. Glad to see Paine back in the setup though, big fan of his game. Lyon proving once again he is the greatest spinner in the world @RandyOz?? Or another over-hyped Aussie pretender? Glad to see Kerrigan getting wickets. @zenboomerang: In the first inns yea, but 4.14 in the second is very good. RE the declaration, it's a shame it wasn't a 5-dayer, no doubt the Lions would have set Aus 400+ and then skittled them for under 300.

  • Geoffrey on August 11, 2012, 18:20 GMT

    @RandyOz- funny mate "fairly weak" made me laugh all the way into the next schooner of old.

  • Samuel on August 11, 2012, 16:11 GMT

    @landl47 - Woakes is more of a genuine swing bowler than Bres I'd say; that's what he relies on, he doesn't quite have Bresnan's versatility to hit the deck hard or bowl bumpers when it needs to change up. Then again, neither does Bresnan any more it seems. He's definitely put on a bit of pace this season when I've seen him on TV too, odd considering the amount of injuries he's had. He's not rapid still by any stretch, but he seems to be hitting 83-84mph now when he used to be down at 80/81. The problem with his bowling to me is what he does if the ball doesn't swing, but he'd have Anderson to learn from if he broke into the England set up. His batting is more than the added bonus of Bresnan and Broad's too - he can genuinely score Test hundreds for England I think. If KP isn't selected for the third Test, he'd be my choice to bring in at 7, moving Prior up to 6.

  • John on August 11, 2012, 15:39 GMT

    @Mark Le Bherz on (August 11 2012, 11:17 AM GMT), agreed. This game is just further evidence that you can't trust a good performance from Johnson to mean that he's regaining some form because he's just so inconsistent. People need to get over the fact that he's still around the team because he has a central contract so they won't just let him rot but if something doesn't change dramatically between now and when that contract expires then I doubt that he'll even be around the A squad after that. There are just too many other options, although the limited-overs attack looks less settled than the Test attack, and it's in limited-overs that Johnson's form has dissipated altogether.

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