England Lions v Australians, Worcester, 4th day

North and Hussey impress in draw

The Bulletin by Peter English at Worcester

July 4, 2009

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England Lions 352 (Moore 120, Rashid 66, Denly 66, Lee 6-76) and 162 for 4 (Morgan 28*, Johnson 2-48) drew with Australians 358 and 438 for 4 dec (North 191*, Clarke 80, Hussey 62)
Scorecard
How they were out


Marcus North cracks one behind square, England Lions v Australians, New Road, July 4, 2009
Marcus North finished the match unbeaten on 191 © Getty Images
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Marcus North led the Australians with 191 not out and they were also encouraged by the performances of Mitchell Johnson and Brett Lee as they completed a useful warm-up for Wednesday's first Test. After North sped the Australians to 438 for 4 at the lunch-time declaration in Worcester, the tourists were pleased to see Johnson remove both openers and Lee gain reverse-swing in the 33rd over before the match was called off almost an hour early.

The end was signalled shortly after the umpire Jeff Evans collapsed on the side of the pitch with the England Lions 162 for 4. Johnson was more fluent as he built on a rusty performance in the first innings during a nine-over spell that set him up for Cardiff. He enters the Ashes as Australia's major weapon and the only thing missing is the sharp movement that turned him into a dominator during the series in South Africa.

The New Road pitch hasn't suited the fast bowlers during the four days and the England Lions openers raced to 29 in 4.5 overs. However, the rate slowed when Johnson forced Stephen Moore (16) into an edge to second slip where Ricky Ponting took a slick catch to his right. Ten overs later Johnson (2 for 48) struck again when he went around the wicket and forced a fine nick from Joe Denly to Brad Haddin on 36.

With the England Lions set 445 runs for victory in two sessions, there was no push for victory from either side and the Australians were content to give all of their main bowlers a run. Lee, who took six wickets in the first innings, had two spells either side of tea and bowled Vikram Solanki for 28 with a sharp inswinger. On Thursday Lee got the ball to move significantly by the 45th over and this time he was shaping it much earlier in another encouraging sign for the fast bowler, who is returning from ankle surgery.

In a pointer to the first Test, Marcus North's offspin was used before Nathan Hauritz was called, although the specialist broke through when Ian Bell was taken by Simon Katich at short leg, leaving the hosts at 103 at tea. Hauritz continued after the break and was hit for a straight six by Eoin Morgan, who survived a long lbw shout by the bowler at Evans' end in the third-last over. He was unbeaten on 28 at stumps while Steve Davies was 11 not-out.

Evans required attention after experiencing dizzy spells and was held by a couple of the visiting players as they helped him to the ground. The Australian physio Alex Kountouris and a local paramedic ran on to the field to treat Evans, who was able to walk off with the teams and was reported to be fine after stumps.

The Australians were unscathed before their declaration and the only interruption came when Michael Hussey "retired hurt" with a very minor left ankle problem. He had been struck in the warm-up but still managed to bat freely for more than an hour before deciding it was time for Haddin to arrive.

Following his first-innings century, Hussey breezed to 62 in 69 balls to continue his resurgence on this tour. He collected five fours and his highlight came when he pulled Graham Onions for six shortly before bringing up his half-century. When his return to the field was announced he mockingly shook his leg and smiled.

At the other end North was also enjoying being in the middle instead of the dressing room, although the standard of bowling in the second half of the session was ordinary. The spin of Adil Rashid, Denly and Solanki helped North race towards a double-century, but he won't be bothered that he was nine short when the declaration came. A slog-swept four from Denly was followed next ball by a six and his stay lasted 280 balls.

Haddin's unbeaten 25 assisted the tourists in adding 162 before Ponting sent his bowlers out. Steve Harmison ended with 2 for 55 while Rashid and Denly claimed a wicket each.

Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo

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