Australia A v England XI, Tour match, Hobart

Anderson, Root enjoy time in middle

The Report by Daniel Brettig in Hobart

November 9, 2013

Comments: 60 | Text size: A | A

Australia A 3 for 119 (Doolan 31, Anderson 2-20) drew with England XI 7 for 430 dec (Cook 154, Carberry 153, Root 58, Cutting 2-75)
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Joe Root pushes one to the off side, Australia A v England, Hobart, 4th day, November 9, 2013
Joe Root gained some useful time in the middle on the fourth day in Hobart © Getty Images
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England have one senior player injured and another trio well short of rhythm, while Australia sorely need Shane Watson in their batting order during the Ashes and could do much worse than adding Ben Cutting to their bowling attack for the first Test. This much was clear on the final afternoon of the tour match in Hobart, as Alastair Cook's team tried to make up for two days of lost play by offering time in the middle to batsmen and bowlers alike.

Aside from the troubling news of Matt Prior's calf problem less than two weeks before the toss of the coin at the Gabba, there were plenty of other portents to be drawn from the afternoon's cricket on both sides. While a nervy Gary Ballance made his first run in an England shirt before exiting for a scratchy four from 17 balls, Kevin Pietersen, Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann were glimpsed only briefly, and must now all be expected to play in the final warm-up in Sydney next week.

James Anderson bowled with familiar class, exposing the shortcomings of Alex Doolan and Usman Khawaja in particular. Doolan's 31 was fluent and attractive as he often is, but ended when Anderson burst through a rather large gap between bat and pad to clip off the bails. Khawaja hung his bat out a little too predictably at a ball moving across him, leaving the national selectors to hope the encouraging progress of Watson's hamstring ailment, confirmed from Brisbane on Saturday by the national coach Darren Lehmann, continues.

Broad and Swann at least bowled a few cobweb-shedding overs each in the final session, but Pietersen was given out lbw to a Trent Copeland delivery that crept through low after a brief and unconvincing stay. Cook and Michael Carberry retired on their three-day-old totals, before the rest of the batsmen were made to scrap particularly hard for their runs by the Queenslander Cutting, who bowled with speed, accuracy and hostility to make a decent case for inclusion in the Brisbane squad.

The strong intention of Australia's selectors to give England as little quality bowling as possible did not align with Cutting's equally firm desire to state his case. Figures of 9-3-17-2 make for compelling reading, and it was equally arresting to view Cutting's use of a still newish ball on a pitch freshened up somewhat by two days under the covers. Pursuing a full length and line around off stump, he beat all batsmen with movement off the pitch, coaxing an edge from Jonathan Trott before ending Ballance's stay with a ball that straightened after pitching in line for a clear lbw.

All the while Joe Root showed a similar disparity between front and back foot to that he demonstrated in the previous Ashes bout. Though struggling mightily to keep out anything pitched up, eluding a desperately close lbw appeal by Cutting, he thrived on anything short and improved somewhat in fluency as the innings went on. It was while batting with Root that Prior experienced calf tightness, and after his innings ended with a predetermined attempt to sweep Jon Holland it was to be Root who took the wicketkeeping gloves when Cook declared.

The moment of the closure coincided with another curious passage of play involving Broad, who swung Holland into the deep where Khawaja took a fine low catch. Fulfilling his now familiar role of agent provocateur, Broad appeared to query whether or not Khawaja had scooped it up on the bounce, resulting in a brief stand-off before Cook called both batsmen in.

Doolan opened with Michael Klinger, and quickly asserted himself with a confident flurry of boundaries. It was Broad who suffered most, two consecutive fours through the offside followed by a sharp bouncer that struck Doolan on the arm. Another followed that sailed over Root's head for five wides, before Anderson struck at the other end to remove Doolan for the kind of pretty cameo he had specialised in with Tasmania for several seasons before maturing.

Klinger's stay was longer but less compelling, several lbw appeals denied and 17 balls elapsing before he scampered a first run. But he was to outlast Khawaja, and forged on until departing lbw to Swann in the closing overs. Shaun Marsh played with composure and no great haste in the company of Callum Ferguson as the match petered out, to be replaced by the sight of England sending their remaining players out for centre-wicket practice at the moment stumps were called. Time is getting tight.

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

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Posted by MinusZero on (November 11, 2013, 0:22 GMT)

"while Australia sorely need Shane Watson in their batting order during the Ashes" Are you kidding? Watson is so over rated and his performances over the last few years do not deserve selection. Selectors need to start separating test and odi form and realise that they are two different things. A good ODI player doesnt mean a good test player. Its time to move on. I would not select Watson or Johnson.

Posted by   on (November 11, 2013, 0:08 GMT)

To be honest the last Ashes was pretty ordinary played by a side on the rise and a side who will be in transition once at least three retire soon. England will win or should win this time but I genuinely believe it will be again a pretty ordinary series. A bit confused by all this talk though of a better Australian attack. We have an Anderson and Swann, both world class and proven match winners. Also Broad in 2009 at the Oval and this year at Durham proved that. Australia have a lot of good bowlers but also a lot of inconsistencies in that they do not have the ability to bowl teams out cheaply twice. Last series was a prime example of that.

Posted by Mitty2 on (November 10, 2013, 23:37 GMT)

@JG2704, describing Cosgrove as a balloon made me laugh and yes he is, although he apparently lost 16 kg in the winter.

@landl47, I was thinking of Overton yes. And on Jordan and Stokes, they both look like all rounders and not really test bowlers - I don't know what it is (lack of movement?) but from watching them in the ODI's although they both had some good spells they didn't look to be really that quality to qualify for the third seamer's spot.

Posted by JAH123 on (November 10, 2013, 22:49 GMT)

I don't think too much should be made of the gap between Doolan's bat and pad - I saw that ball live and it was an absolute peach that would have dismissed plenty of quality batsmen, came back from well outside off. Doolan's pad was several inches outside the line of off stump and he probably could have been excused if he had decided to leave it.

On a pitch with uneven bounce where most other batsmen from both sides struggled - with the possible exception of Root, who impressed me once he survived Cutting - he clearly looked the most fluent and confident. Slotting him in at 4 or 5, where the ball won't be quite as new, wouldn't be a bad option.

Posted by Moppa on (November 10, 2013, 21:56 GMT)

@Lyndon McPaul, no worries and all cleared up! @dunger.bob, on reflection you're right about Lee, he did hit 150 often in Tests, but my point still holds, he was never much above 150 in Tests whereas he had spells approaching 160 in some ODIs, and I would say his 'standard' speed was consistently 5km/hr faster in ODIs.

Posted by   on (November 10, 2013, 21:18 GMT)

landl47. Its called a warmup match. That's all it is

Posted by Chris_P on (November 10, 2013, 21:04 GMT)

@JG2704. Cosgrove was certainly a balloon, but he has stripped a lot of weight off in the off-season, almost unrecognizable when I first saw him this season. @landl47, I think you need to look past his figures, he did bowl very well, beating the bat consistently. A greatly improved bowler from 2 years ago when everyone was calling for his inclusion in the Test team, way ahead of his time. His efforts , from our POV, was the standout.

Posted by ScottStevo on (November 10, 2013, 20:55 GMT)

@landl47, "terrified"! Hardly! But quite amusing nonetheless! In that same match both he and Stokes went for plenty too; at around 5/6 rpo! Also, don't recollect Stokes hitting 90mph - as he didn't and bowled between 85-88. In fact, of the 3 quicks used by Eng that day, he was the only one not to hit 90mph! Hard to say these guys did well when they got slammed by Watson and Clarke. A bit hard to see too much potential from that performance, not to say that either of them couldn't develop into fine bowlers in the future, but I don't think they'll have earned too many plaudits off the back of that performance...

Posted by landl47 on (November 10, 2013, 17:43 GMT)

@Mitty2: I'm not sure if you're talking about Jordan, who terrified a number of the Australian batsmen in the last ODI in England, or Overton, the 19-year old quick from Somerset, or even Stokes, who got 5 wickets in the last ODI and is another who touches 90mph, but you're right, England does have some good prospects coming through.

@Lyndon McPaul: 0-318.

Posted by JG2704 on (November 10, 2013, 10:00 GMT)

@wellrounded87 on (November 9, 2013, 22:18 GMT) Wow - several debutants there in your side. I've not seen much of the m TBH. Is Cosgrove the balloon who spent some time at Glamorgan?

@Lyndon McPaul on (November 10, 2013, 6:38 GMT) I'm English and pretty much agree with you re our back up bowlers on this tour so yoy're not going to cop a barrage from me. However , we were getting comms pre the last series about how much better (statistically) the Aus bowlers were than the English bowlers and Eng ended up having 3 of the top 4 bowlers in that series so I'd say stats/pre series form isn't the be all and end all. I would consider trying to get Faulkner into the side as maybe a number 6/7 bowling all rounder. Not sure how his domestic form is but the guy has a bit of character about him and I think he'd thrive on the occasion.

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Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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