Worcestershire v Australians, New Road, 4th day July 5, 2013

Lehmann provides relief amid toil


Australians 396 for 4 dec (Watson 109) and 341 for 5 dec (Clarke 124) drew with Worcestershire 284 (Compton 79) and 274 for 5 (Pardoe 57, Mitchell 54)

Australia's coach Darren Lehmann ran the drinks but the more enduring refreshment of wickets was elusive for the tourists as an obstinate Worcestershire dug in for the draw on the final day of the tour match at New Road. In a convivial atmosphere far removed from the tension likely to greet them on day one at Trent Bridge on Wednesday, Michael Clarke signalled he had given up attempts to bowl out the hosts by handing an over to Phillip Hughes that concluded with the shaking of hands.

While the match was not won, Clarke's men will travel to Nottingham with a great deal more optimism than had existed in their ranks 11 days ago when the coach Mickey Arthur was sacked and replaced by Lehmann. All the batsmen have made some kind of score, and every bowler gained enough overs to feel ready for Test match duty, even if wickets have not always been easy to come by.

Ryan Harris dismissed Alexei Kervezee and Worcestershire's captain Daryl Mitchell to claim the Australians' only wickets after lunch. James Faulkner had accounted for Matthew Pardoe and Moeen Ali amid a parsimonious morning spell of 7-4-8-2, but the rest of the touring bowlers were less successful. Jackson Bird, Shane Watson, Ashton Agar and Steve Smith all toiled without success, though the team remained chipper in the field on a picturesque summer's day.

Lehmann's appearance at drinks maintained his knack for lightening the mood, though there was briefly more concern for Ed Cowan at short leg when a Smith short ball was pulled violently into the back of his helmet. Cowan rolled around in obvious pain before resuming his post.

Pardoe and Ali resumed without any real intent of pursuing their distant target, weathering the early spells of Bird and Harris while Agar wheeled away from the Diglis End. Faulkner's introduction was to prove more fruitful, drawing an edge from Pardoe that was neatly held by Clarke at slip.

Mitchell escaped one Faulkner lbw appeal and was fortunate a second time when an apparent bat/pad chance from Agar's bowling was turfed by Smith, diving across the pitch with one hand. But Ali was not to make it to the interval, punching one attractive drive down the ground from Faulkner before being pinned on the boot by a yorker and given lbw.

Harris struck soon after the resumption, tilting Kervezee's middle stump with a ball that cut back, but hopes of a quick finish were snuffed out by Mitchell and Tom Fell, who stonewalled gravely and effectively for the remainder of the session, with Fell reaching a worthy maiden first-class fifty.

Mitchell eluded another lbw appeal, this time by Harris, before the adjournment, but did not advance much further. Faulkner claimed the catch from a shovel towards midwicket, the lack of pace in the pitch contributing. That was to be the end of the joy for the Australians, as the surface remained helpful to batsmen and impervious to the bowlers' efforts to extract any life.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Md.Nurul on July 7, 2013, 2:48 GMT

    I think going with the four pacers will not be a prudent decision. Lyon should have a go. The Other 3 pacers should be Pattinson, Siddle & Harris/Starc.

  • David on July 7, 2013, 2:14 GMT

    I'm still a bit stumped by comments like Moppa's saying Smith may do all right if he comes in against spin but not if he comes in against pace. Two points Moppa - I think Cook may be able to bowl whoever he likes whenever he likes, and he might just notice that it's Smith batting; second, England only have one spinner, so Smith's going to be batting against pace at one end at least whenever he comes in. Let's not over analyse this. Smith's either good enough or he's not. I'd have him in there.

  • stuart on July 6, 2013, 17:15 GMT

    the worlds greatest fast bowling attack blunted? I thought this was the new greatest attack ever? I guess I have been misled by some of the comments on here and from the Aussie team itself.

  • Richard on July 6, 2013, 15:20 GMT

    Watson, Rogers, Hughes, Clarke, Smith, Warner, Haddin, Faulkner, Harris, Pattinson, Bird.

  • Ben on July 6, 2013, 13:52 GMT

    @RyanHarrisGreatCricketer. Harris is a liability and the fact of the matter is that he is a reserve bowler in this squad. He should be an option (along with Bird and Faulkner) to replace one of the three quicks who will start the first test in Siddle, Pattinson and Starc. There is inestimable value in being able to pick the same team for as many tests in a row as possible and Harris doesn't allow for this. As it is, Harris' recent results don't justify selection for one or two tests, because this man is a solid and respectable bowler but not a game breaker. In terms of pace, penetrating and swing, Pattinson outclasses Harris in every way. There is no place for Harris in the first test and he, Bird and Faulkner should be picked only as a result of injury or lack of form. England in 2005, Australia in 2006/07 both elucidated the benefit of being able to pick the same team, and yes the circumstances are different as these were superior teams but regardless the evidence is there.

  • Lewis on July 6, 2013, 13:08 GMT

    Watson, Rogers, Khawaja, Clarke, Hugehs and Smith is my lineup. My worry is that if we put Hughes at 3 then he will be tortured in England,. With the softer ball the ball won't swing as much so best to leave him at 5. Khawaja is among our better batsman of handling swing so keep him at 3.. I think Lehmann knows this and if he plays him it will be at 3…And great to see boof move Clarke up to 4. Don't ask me about hte bowlers, we are spoilt for options there.

  • H on July 6, 2013, 11:38 GMT

    @Mitty2 We won't be 350-2, don't be silly! As an Aussie surely you know that Patto is better than Dale Steyn, Glenn McGrath and Waqar Younis combined, and Starc is a taller, faster, better version of Wasim Akram. Faulkner's a left-arm version of Ian Botham, while Lyon's actually the result of a secret government experiment to fuse the DNA of Shane Warne and Murali.

    All jokes aside, I think your warmups have been good, the important thing was runs for the batsmen because the bowlers have proven themselves before. I think it'll be Starc, Siddle and Pattinson for the first Test and I reckon it's your best attack (Bird looks good, but England don't like left-armers, Siddle's the perfect Ashes battler, and we all know about Pattinson's quality).

    @Eskimo Siddle would make my England team. Top bowler, has a knack of picking up important wickets and never lets the side down.

    @Lliam Flynn Plenty of partisanship on both sides, mate. But yeah, I reckon both sides are fairly evenly matched.

  • Ed on July 6, 2013, 8:33 GMT

    @Mitty2 Good points - but my comment was based on current form. Swann has not been at his best against Aus, especially in 2009. Also it seems the pitches this summer will suit him and will not suit seam or conventional swing - just reverse swing. Do correct me as this is a hunch, but I feel Eng have tended to win games in the 2nd pair of innings in India and especially NZ at Lords. I foresee a pattern of even 1st innings, Eng win on 2nd.

  • Dummy4 on July 6, 2013, 8:23 GMT

    Siddle has to play, he has been pretty much the captain of the bowling group, he has bled for Australia and puts it all on the line, he even gave up meat! He is the only Australian bowler ranked in the top 5 test bowlers, and the most likely to take wickets when the chips are down.

    One thing i have seen about siddle is he doesn't usually go home with big hauls but the wicket he does get is usually the one that seemed impossible to get, he breaks up solid partnerships and gets wickets when you don't expect it.

  • Peter on July 6, 2013, 8:22 GMT

    Bird has to play. Lyon is the worry but he should be given a chance. I think the English will fancy their chances against Lyon.

  • No featured comments at the moment.