Australia A v England XI, Hobart, 1st day November 17, 2010

Smith fights but England on top

39

England XI 1 for 22 trail Australia A 230 (O'Keefe 66, Smith 59, Tremlett 4-54, Shahzad 3-57) by 208 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Australia's plans for the first Ashes Test are in a mess after a woeful day on which eight specialist batsmen in their Test squad failed in three matches around the country. Steven Smith was one of only two men in the 17-man group for the Gabba who shone with the bat, making 59 against England's second-string attack in Hobart, but he is unlikely to make the starting line-up next Thursday.

Smith and his fellow spin-bowling allrounder Steve O'Keefe rebuilt Australia A's innings at Bellerive Oval, where they pushed the total to 230 with some lower-order fighting. England lost Andrew Strauss early in the reply for 10, caught by O'Keefe at gully off Mark Cameron, and at stumps they were 1 for 22 with Alastair Cook on 10 and the nightwatchman Monty Panesar on 2.

Most significant was the failure of Usman Khawaja and Callum Ferguson, who were named in the squad for the Gabba Test but struggled on a green-top under cloudy skies. They were not alone. At the MCG, Michael Hussey was caught at slip by his brother David for an 18-ball duck, and his Western Australia team-mate Marcus North also departed cheaply for 17, but Mitchell Johnson finished unbeaten on 82.

Further north in Sydney, Simon Katich, Shane Watson and Brad Haddin all failed to get past 10, as New South Wales were demolished by Tasmania in their first innings for 97 on a horribly difficult SCG surface. When Tasmania replied, Ricky Ponting came in for the third ball of the innings and managed only 7. Michael Clarke must be thankful that his sore back ruled him out of that match.

It was the worst possible warm-up for Australia's batsmen eight days out from the first Test, especially as the selectors wanted to use these games to settle on a starting line-up. Hussey is the most vulnerable, but neither Khawaja nor Ferguson grasped their opportunities at Bellerive Oval, where it took Smith and O'Keefe to rebuild with half-centuries.

England sent their frontline bowlers to Brisbane early to prepare for the Test, but the weakened attack had no trouble causing problems for the top order in helpful conditions. Chris Tremlett finished with 4 for 54 and Ajmal Shahzad, who was flown in from the performance squad to bolster the group, bowled very well for his 3 for 57.

Khawaja was caught behind for 13 off a thin edge when Shahzad's persistent fullish length and angle finally paid off, and Ferguson followed soon afterwards for 7. He was caught behind off Tim Bresnan (2 for 65), and soon the home team was struggling at 5 for 66. Smith and Tim Paine (27) began the rebuilding process until Paine edged behind while trying to hook Tremlett down leg side.

But Smith, renowned as a dasher, continued to play sensibly with just the occasional moment of aggression thrown in to satisfy his urges. A hook for six off Bresnan looked more like a forehand smash, and he also pulled confidently in front of square. Smith eventually played on to Shahzad, but O'Keefe pushed on to get the total past 200.

O'Keefe was the last man out, caught by Matt Prior when he skied a swipe against Tremlett, and it was a decent recovery given Australia A's early wobbles. Tremlett backed Andrew Strauss's decision to send the hosts in by having Phillip Hughes caught behind for 2 in the third over. Tremlett also accounted for Cameron White, who was bowled for 5 attempting an aggressive drive.

The only man who looked comfortable early in the challenging conditions was the local opener Ed Cowan, who worked hard for 31, only to see the improbable sight of Monty Panesar hurling himself in the air to take a stunning one-handed catch at midwicket. When Panesar pulls that off, you know it's not your day. And nor was it Australia's day anywhere around the nation.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Meety on November 18, 2010, 6:51 GMT

    @Hanes Bezoidthrusta - LOL re: Pak misery. Stumps Day 4 you would have to of been confident - with Pakis recent history of no fight. What I can't figure out is why the Pakis didn't have a crack @ winning with 7 wickets spare 110 runs to win off 16 overs! Maybe the money always was on the draw!!!!! @Davo47 - gee Strauss would be a brave man - given Hussains effort 8 years ago! You're possibly right though! @Chapelau - I don't think many bloggers have been that cocky, not like our glorious captain! If Katich is out injured, we could move Mitch J to open as he & Pup are the only 2 frontline players with any batting form. This would mean that any wickets MJ gets would be a bonus - LOL!!

  • Marcio on November 18, 2010, 1:08 GMT

    All this doom and gloom from Aussies - or gloating from the Poms - before a ball has been bowled in the series is way too premature. Despite the awful preparation, and everything going against Australia and everything imaginable going England's way thus far (e.g. English style green tops being generously provided for the Poms in warm up games, and apparently for the Gabba too), that will mean nothing when the players get to the Gabba. Much will depend on the toss. Botham's boast that England are unbeatable is just dumb. Oz have some v. good players, despite the bashings.

  • Meety on November 18, 2010, 0:10 GMT

    @ CricketingStargazer - I hope it is not over in 2 days - I have free tickets for a corporate box for the 3rd day! Anyways I love the banter, funny how the Pommie fans have suddenly discovered internet blogs! I still believe that Oz will lift for the Ashes, but I don't like the preparation!!!!!

  • Chris_P on November 17, 2010, 22:31 GMT

    Not sure on the other 2 grounds, but the Hobart & Sydney pitches were extremely bowler friendly. I've never seen such a juicy pitch at Bellerive before, and no wonder Strauss couldn't wait to send in the Aussie A team after winning the toss. The conditions lived up to the predictions with the ball, darting, jumping and seaming all over the place. It was actually good to see a contest favouring the bowlers for a change and this challenged the batsmen to change their method. Smith's efforts were noteworthy, mostly for the fact that he curbed his natural aggressive manner and actually put his head down to ground out some runs resembling some of the days of years long past before the advent of T20 et al. He did club some big shots when offered, but overall, a performance beyond his years. The Sydney pitch was far too much with the bowlers, with both sides getting exaggerated movement and variable bounce. @biggus, I have been to the last 10 gabba tests ( and will go next week) & agree 100%.

  • on November 17, 2010, 22:06 GMT

    This is hilarious. "England will retain the Ashes"? What a joke!

    Both these sides are middling to good. The only proven track record England has in Australia is one of failure and abject humiliation. They'll do well to run this series close no matter how fragile the Aus line-up looks right now.

    Please, people, perspective. England are not that good. Australia are not that bad. There isn't a lot to distinguish between them, so, as one would've done in 2009, one must give the benefit of the doubt to the home side. Australia to win, probably 2-1.

    And I, as a South African, will look on and laugh at all equally. (And try to forget my own Pakistan-induced misery in the process.)

  • David47 on November 17, 2010, 20:51 GMT

    @Btba - toss in Brisbane won't matter mate. If Ponting wins he'll bat (always does); if Strauss wins he'll bowl (based on the Tassie game and how our alleged "top flight" batsmen have gone in the Shield games).

  • 2.14istherunrate on November 17, 2010, 19:32 GMT

    England really failed to do what they fail to do so often-FINISH the job they started so well. Though conditions eased the bowlers should have nailed the tail and been batting soon after tea. Maybe they were a bit jaded after 2 months off and lacking fitness for the kill. Otherwise Shazzad really impressed with some really dangerous bowling and looked the pick of the attack. Tremlett if 100% fit could be a handfull. I wonder if the groundsmen are deadening the wickets for their side given the height of our bowlers. I wish Perth was still like it was.

  • Chapelau on November 17, 2010, 18:44 GMT

    @IPLis dull - not sure what u have been listening to, but there have been loads of "cocky" comments from Aus ... must confess to missing our mate Glenny's comments ... "5-0 whitewash to Aus", then after the first test it will be, "aw well, that was lucky it will be 4-1 to Aus... guess he will shut up after the third test !

  • tjsimonsen on November 17, 2010, 17:52 GMT

    Well, well. Let's not forget that on the eve of the 86/87 series it was said that the only problem with the English side was that it couldn't bat, bowl or field. And look how that series went. Perhaps Australia can take some heart from that.

    That said, I still think England will retain the Ashes.

  • deanc on November 17, 2010, 17:26 GMT

    @Simon Jessup. I find it prudent to actually watch cricket before making comments. Eng bowled in the right areas yesterday exploiting very favourable bowling conditions that even some of the best batsmen going around would have found difficult. I can assure you the Aus A bowlers would of had similar success if they had bowled first...

  • Meety on November 18, 2010, 6:51 GMT

    @Hanes Bezoidthrusta - LOL re: Pak misery. Stumps Day 4 you would have to of been confident - with Pakis recent history of no fight. What I can't figure out is why the Pakis didn't have a crack @ winning with 7 wickets spare 110 runs to win off 16 overs! Maybe the money always was on the draw!!!!! @Davo47 - gee Strauss would be a brave man - given Hussains effort 8 years ago! You're possibly right though! @Chapelau - I don't think many bloggers have been that cocky, not like our glorious captain! If Katich is out injured, we could move Mitch J to open as he & Pup are the only 2 frontline players with any batting form. This would mean that any wickets MJ gets would be a bonus - LOL!!

  • Marcio on November 18, 2010, 1:08 GMT

    All this doom and gloom from Aussies - or gloating from the Poms - before a ball has been bowled in the series is way too premature. Despite the awful preparation, and everything going against Australia and everything imaginable going England's way thus far (e.g. English style green tops being generously provided for the Poms in warm up games, and apparently for the Gabba too), that will mean nothing when the players get to the Gabba. Much will depend on the toss. Botham's boast that England are unbeatable is just dumb. Oz have some v. good players, despite the bashings.

  • Meety on November 18, 2010, 0:10 GMT

    @ CricketingStargazer - I hope it is not over in 2 days - I have free tickets for a corporate box for the 3rd day! Anyways I love the banter, funny how the Pommie fans have suddenly discovered internet blogs! I still believe that Oz will lift for the Ashes, but I don't like the preparation!!!!!

  • Chris_P on November 17, 2010, 22:31 GMT

    Not sure on the other 2 grounds, but the Hobart & Sydney pitches were extremely bowler friendly. I've never seen such a juicy pitch at Bellerive before, and no wonder Strauss couldn't wait to send in the Aussie A team after winning the toss. The conditions lived up to the predictions with the ball, darting, jumping and seaming all over the place. It was actually good to see a contest favouring the bowlers for a change and this challenged the batsmen to change their method. Smith's efforts were noteworthy, mostly for the fact that he curbed his natural aggressive manner and actually put his head down to ground out some runs resembling some of the days of years long past before the advent of T20 et al. He did club some big shots when offered, but overall, a performance beyond his years. The Sydney pitch was far too much with the bowlers, with both sides getting exaggerated movement and variable bounce. @biggus, I have been to the last 10 gabba tests ( and will go next week) & agree 100%.

  • on November 17, 2010, 22:06 GMT

    This is hilarious. "England will retain the Ashes"? What a joke!

    Both these sides are middling to good. The only proven track record England has in Australia is one of failure and abject humiliation. They'll do well to run this series close no matter how fragile the Aus line-up looks right now.

    Please, people, perspective. England are not that good. Australia are not that bad. There isn't a lot to distinguish between them, so, as one would've done in 2009, one must give the benefit of the doubt to the home side. Australia to win, probably 2-1.

    And I, as a South African, will look on and laugh at all equally. (And try to forget my own Pakistan-induced misery in the process.)

  • David47 on November 17, 2010, 20:51 GMT

    @Btba - toss in Brisbane won't matter mate. If Ponting wins he'll bat (always does); if Strauss wins he'll bowl (based on the Tassie game and how our alleged "top flight" batsmen have gone in the Shield games).

  • 2.14istherunrate on November 17, 2010, 19:32 GMT

    England really failed to do what they fail to do so often-FINISH the job they started so well. Though conditions eased the bowlers should have nailed the tail and been batting soon after tea. Maybe they were a bit jaded after 2 months off and lacking fitness for the kill. Otherwise Shazzad really impressed with some really dangerous bowling and looked the pick of the attack. Tremlett if 100% fit could be a handfull. I wonder if the groundsmen are deadening the wickets for their side given the height of our bowlers. I wish Perth was still like it was.

  • Chapelau on November 17, 2010, 18:44 GMT

    @IPLis dull - not sure what u have been listening to, but there have been loads of "cocky" comments from Aus ... must confess to missing our mate Glenny's comments ... "5-0 whitewash to Aus", then after the first test it will be, "aw well, that was lucky it will be 4-1 to Aus... guess he will shut up after the third test !

  • tjsimonsen on November 17, 2010, 17:52 GMT

    Well, well. Let's not forget that on the eve of the 86/87 series it was said that the only problem with the English side was that it couldn't bat, bowl or field. And look how that series went. Perhaps Australia can take some heart from that.

    That said, I still think England will retain the Ashes.

  • deanc on November 17, 2010, 17:26 GMT

    @Simon Jessup. I find it prudent to actually watch cricket before making comments. Eng bowled in the right areas yesterday exploiting very favourable bowling conditions that even some of the best batsmen going around would have found difficult. I can assure you the Aus A bowlers would of had similar success if they had bowled first...

  • landl47 on November 17, 2010, 16:55 GMT

    I've been accused (with some justification) of being biased, so I'll put the other point of view. I thought Smith and O'Keefe played very well and having two young players like them must give Australia good prospects for future series. Whether or not the selectors will give them a chance this time around, I don't know, but both looked ready for test cricket. The English attack started well, but seemed to run out of gas a bit, and Monty Panesar only bowled steadily without penetration (his fielding and batting have improved, though!). Mark Cameron has got good pace and he'll be encouraged by getting Strauss cheaply. There-was that unbiased enough? Ahh, to heck with it! The seven specialist batsmen in the Australian squad playing yesterday got 51 between them and Haddin got 10. How's your warm-up going, cobbers?

  • Behind_the_bowlers_arm on November 17, 2010, 15:27 GMT

    Seems that the toss in Brisbane might be crucial if these wickets continue. Some terrible scores for the Australians (apart from Mitchell Johnson's 82no at the MCG against the evil empire which has been ignored as it spoils the story) and appears many will go into the First Test underdone and short of runs. I'm in London and the English reaction is caution. The world seems upside down and they are just waiting for the other shoe to drop and this eerie ideal build up to blow up. I guess years of expecting the worse will do that to you!

  • on November 17, 2010, 14:55 GMT

    JimDavis 'good to get the low scores out of the way' Deanc 'Australia A have done really well' Wow. I always remember Aussie preparation for a home ashes series as being all of the batsmen tucking into thousands of runs, followed by a demolition of England by the A team. This was usually good enough as the prologue for a pom thrashing in the series. It now appears to be the new method of ineptitude. I reckon the original plan was the best one.

  • IPLisdull on November 17, 2010, 14:08 GMT

    @cricketingstargazer i have followed the comments closely and have not seen any bullish comments from Australians about the weakness of the English side, only comments treating the English with a great deal of respect. Most Australians are looking forward to their rebuil(t-ding) side being challenged on home soil. As for "nervous insecure spin before a home Ashes series" you English are the masters. A first test loss and you cant even find a mention of the test, that is until Tim Henman bows out of Wimbledon in the semis. I, like most Australians born in the 80s, have rarely seen Australia challenged at home. Given, that we have lost one series since 1993 (27 years ago), I have us slight favourites but the thought of the first day at the Gabba has got me (and my country men) more excited about cricket than i have been in years, and that is a very nice thing. If you are still wondering what is going on, try supporting your side in good times and bad and open your eyes when others do too

  • Rickaby on November 17, 2010, 14:07 GMT

    How does Greg Chappell get a gig at this, the most precarious time in Australian cricket in the past 2 decades? His coaching record is horrendous - he destroyed SA cricket and went a long way to doing the same with India. Granted, selecting is not coaching (thank god for small mercies) but what does he bring to the table?

  • Gapsted on November 17, 2010, 12:42 GMT

    Andrew McDonald, Andrew McDonald, Andrew McDonald, Andrew McDonald, Andrew McDonald, Andrew McDonald, Andrew McDonald, Andrew McDonald, Andrew McDonald, Andrew McDonald ... selectors are you $^%#&$ BLIND!?!?

  • Biggus on November 17, 2010, 12:05 GMT

    @CricketingStargazer-Wasn't referring to the weather-I used the word 'wicket'. The GABBA pitch is traditionally a bit hairy for a session on the first day in terms of seam movement, but usually flattens out by about half-way through the day, as happened today-hence the comparison.

  • deanc on November 17, 2010, 12:01 GMT

    Good to see a number of English posters suddenly appear, welcome. CricketingStargazer. I've been following most of the press over the past few months but I don't recall reading those 'Bullish' comments you mention? Also who said the Aus A team are feeable? I actually thought they done very well to score over 200 on a green top pitch in cloudy conditions. It will be very intersting to see how Eng do tomorrow morning if conditions are similar.

  • JimDavis on November 17, 2010, 11:54 GMT

    The problem for Australia over the last 3 years has been a lack of consistency, so good to get all the low scores out the road this week. Especially pleasing to see North get another low score, he seems to get a ton every times is place in the team is in danger and I'd hate to see him waste that ton at the G. Also good to see the grounds staff giving the batsmen no easy ride

  • handyandy on November 17, 2010, 11:16 GMT

    Australia need to accept that we are no longer the best in the world and must rebuild. We should have realised that when we were beaten by England last year and should have already started that rebuiding process.

    We are not going to be number1 again if we perservere with a bunch of aging has beens.

    It is time to bring on the young blood.

  • nmdasaya on November 17, 2010, 10:43 GMT

    y not david hussy he is a prolific batsman yet he is not given a chance to play test

  • on November 17, 2010, 10:38 GMT

    With all the assumptions that Australia will lose the ashes, why not make the changes and build with the new ones for the future. If Aust lose, then the new players will be better for the run. If Aust win, then it will be a master stroke. Australia need to have 3 seperate sides for tests,50over and 20:20 specialist players playing at international level specially at 20:20. In 2 years time when the ashes rematch is on in England will Hussey, North, Ponting, Katich, Haddin still be playing? so why assure them now? i am not saying drop them all but surely there is question enough on hussey and North will Steve smith ready.

  • RJHB on November 17, 2010, 10:24 GMT

    Hmmm bit hard to judge the efforts of batsmen today, two of the four pitches played on were greentops! That SCG pitch must be a shocker! Great preparation, well done! Couldn't believe the commentary in Hobart today. Mark Taylor advocating Smith come in at six or seven as a batsman who might bowl a few overs now and again. Something different apparently. Well didn't they try that briefly with Cameron White, among others, and it failed dismally? Smith at this stage is just White Mk2 though White is probably the better batsman. Crazy stuff. Then again, Smith is a New South Welshman......oh thats right, so is Taylor!!

  • on November 17, 2010, 10:22 GMT

    @diss. Smith has exactly the same chance of playing in Brisbane as Ferguson and Khawaja...... NONE! We all know the old XI that Australia will pick and as an England fan I am happy. It will be too late to change if they lose the first test, as the series will go our way. On the other hand, if the old timers manage a win, then they should have the series by a narrow margin. Big game on 25th!

  • CricketingStargazer on November 17, 2010, 10:21 GMT

    Biggus, 11 degrees with heavy cloud cover, seam and swing in Brisbane? The Test may be over in 2 days!

  • chad_reid on November 17, 2010, 10:16 GMT

    latest score from the players in the aus team that are batsman

    watson 6 , katich 0, haddinn 10,,, ponting 7,, , khawaja 13 ferguson 7,, hussey 0, north 17 smith 59

    out of them smith only one with a good score hmm a you pondering what iam pondering eng will retain the ashes nuff said

  • SettingSun on November 17, 2010, 10:15 GMT

    Another correct decision by the England management with our second stringers knocking over this lot easily enough. @GlinnMgraw - no, you're going to lose 5-0 because, well, you're not very good!

  • Ozcricketwriter on November 17, 2010, 10:14 GMT

    My local newspaper listed Steve Smith as a "likely starter" in the XI, to replace Marcus North. He has been in my XI since day 1, to play as a batsman. Smith has a good FC record, has been tried at international level and has succeeded. He is not a risk at all to play as a batsman. That also means that we can safely go in with 4 front-line fast bowlers, which we will need at the Gabba, as Smith has decent back up bowling. With everyone else out of form, I think Smith should be a certain starter.

  • Biggsey on November 17, 2010, 9:56 GMT

    Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No! It's Monty Rhodes!!!!

  • CricketingStargazer on November 17, 2010, 9:11 GMT

    It's certainly a far cry from the bullish comments at the start of the tour that England would lose all three warm-up matches and then go on to be hammered. Then we heard that the State sides were cherry-picked to be weak and that a good performance was meaningless and that the A side would sort England out. Now we are being told that England are up against feeble opposition and that Australia have England right where they want them: in a fool's paradise. I don't recall so much nervous, insecure spin from the Australians before a home Ashes series. More than anything it seems to be Australians who are talking-up the chances of the England side and England fans who are wondering what on earth is going on here.

  • Biggus on November 17, 2010, 8:57 GMT

    @CricketingStargazer-Actually the wicket today played much as I suspect the GABBA wicket will play on the first day.

  • diss on November 17, 2010, 8:35 GMT

    Why is Steve Smith unlikely to make the starting line up next Thursday? I think he has as much a chance as Khawaja and Ferguson. It's not like North is lighting the world on fire.

  • chickenpoo on November 17, 2010, 8:15 GMT

    Steven Smith and Steven O'keefe remind me of Cameron White. Both are class batsmen who early in thier careers were hyped to be the next shane warne. Anyway Smith should be in the Aus XI in place of Hussey or North.

  • David47 on November 17, 2010, 8:00 GMT

    66 to O'Keefe eh - mmm - let's see how he bowls. If he takes 5 or more for the match I'd be getting him in that test side quick smart (like I said when the 17 - minus him - was announced on Monday). The selectors should NOT feel that they have to stick to that 17.

  • CricketingStargazer on November 17, 2010, 7:54 GMT

    The decision to send the first string attack north looks better and better. Conditions totally alien to Brisbane would have been dubous practice for the Test attack. Had they taken wickets it would have been dismissed as no more than a Test should manage in favourable conditions against modest opposition and there would be the danger of falling into the wrong length and line. Now, the reserves have all had a decent run-out. The tail was good enough to put up some fight and make them work for their wickets and both Tremlett and Shazad have done enough to suggest that they could do a job, if needed, in the Test side. I get the impression that the batting may struggle a bit, today, but it will give someone the chance to play a fighting innings and various of the batsmen, not least Prior and Trott, could do with another innings. And the best of the day is the fact that, in five attempts, no side has yet reached 250 against England on this tour. Brisbane will be harder!

  • KingofRedLions on November 17, 2010, 7:44 GMT

    It was not a day for batsmen around the country - out of the four first class matches played today, 6 out of the 61 innings resulted in half-centuries.The bowlers were smiling though. But that wouldn't be selective enough, would it? It doesn't give the indication of panic stations that weren't meant to have.

  • KingofRedLions on November 17, 2010, 7:40 GMT

    Australia's going to lose 5-0 because of some warm up matches, sound the alarm!

  • Clan_McLachlan on November 17, 2010, 7:31 GMT

    lol, now we know why Hughes, Khawaja and Co aren't in the team - they're even worse than the incumbents

  • on November 17, 2010, 7:27 GMT

    Well ,well , well, it is no surprise to me . It is almost the expected norm . It just happens much too often . What is the problem , apart from the opposition ? They are not that much far and above our troops . Someone or some BODY needs a cracker up them . Perhaps the media could afford to speak the truth , and stop the mollycoddling of certain players . Jeez Phil Hughes has been treated dreadfully in my humble opinion .

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  • on November 17, 2010, 7:27 GMT

    Well ,well , well, it is no surprise to me . It is almost the expected norm . It just happens much too often . What is the problem , apart from the opposition ? They are not that much far and above our troops . Someone or some BODY needs a cracker up them . Perhaps the media could afford to speak the truth , and stop the mollycoddling of certain players . Jeez Phil Hughes has been treated dreadfully in my humble opinion .

  • Clan_McLachlan on November 17, 2010, 7:31 GMT

    lol, now we know why Hughes, Khawaja and Co aren't in the team - they're even worse than the incumbents

  • KingofRedLions on November 17, 2010, 7:40 GMT

    Australia's going to lose 5-0 because of some warm up matches, sound the alarm!

  • KingofRedLions on November 17, 2010, 7:44 GMT

    It was not a day for batsmen around the country - out of the four first class matches played today, 6 out of the 61 innings resulted in half-centuries.The bowlers were smiling though. But that wouldn't be selective enough, would it? It doesn't give the indication of panic stations that weren't meant to have.

  • CricketingStargazer on November 17, 2010, 7:54 GMT

    The decision to send the first string attack north looks better and better. Conditions totally alien to Brisbane would have been dubous practice for the Test attack. Had they taken wickets it would have been dismissed as no more than a Test should manage in favourable conditions against modest opposition and there would be the danger of falling into the wrong length and line. Now, the reserves have all had a decent run-out. The tail was good enough to put up some fight and make them work for their wickets and both Tremlett and Shazad have done enough to suggest that they could do a job, if needed, in the Test side. I get the impression that the batting may struggle a bit, today, but it will give someone the chance to play a fighting innings and various of the batsmen, not least Prior and Trott, could do with another innings. And the best of the day is the fact that, in five attempts, no side has yet reached 250 against England on this tour. Brisbane will be harder!

  • David47 on November 17, 2010, 8:00 GMT

    66 to O'Keefe eh - mmm - let's see how he bowls. If he takes 5 or more for the match I'd be getting him in that test side quick smart (like I said when the 17 - minus him - was announced on Monday). The selectors should NOT feel that they have to stick to that 17.

  • chickenpoo on November 17, 2010, 8:15 GMT

    Steven Smith and Steven O'keefe remind me of Cameron White. Both are class batsmen who early in thier careers were hyped to be the next shane warne. Anyway Smith should be in the Aus XI in place of Hussey or North.

  • diss on November 17, 2010, 8:35 GMT

    Why is Steve Smith unlikely to make the starting line up next Thursday? I think he has as much a chance as Khawaja and Ferguson. It's not like North is lighting the world on fire.

  • Biggus on November 17, 2010, 8:57 GMT

    @CricketingStargazer-Actually the wicket today played much as I suspect the GABBA wicket will play on the first day.

  • CricketingStargazer on November 17, 2010, 9:11 GMT

    It's certainly a far cry from the bullish comments at the start of the tour that England would lose all three warm-up matches and then go on to be hammered. Then we heard that the State sides were cherry-picked to be weak and that a good performance was meaningless and that the A side would sort England out. Now we are being told that England are up against feeble opposition and that Australia have England right where they want them: in a fool's paradise. I don't recall so much nervous, insecure spin from the Australians before a home Ashes series. More than anything it seems to be Australians who are talking-up the chances of the England side and England fans who are wondering what on earth is going on here.