Sussex v Australians, Tour match, Hove, 3rd day July 28, 2013

Taylor runs more valuable than Cowan's


Australians 152 for 2 dec (Cowan 77*, Hatchett 2-28) and 366 for 5 dec (Smith 102*, Hughes 84, Cowan 66, Panesar 3-70) drew with Sussex 368 for 7 (Taylor 121*, Hamilton-Brown 73)

Ed Cowan and James Taylor both enjoyed plenty of time in the middle on the final day in Hove, but only one of them has any real chance of playing in the third Test at Old Trafford next week. Taylor's unbeaten 121, scratchy though it was through its early stages, will give him some confidence as he travels to Manchester, where his fate will rest on the fitness of Kevin Pietersen. Cowan's 77 not out, compiled with the help of some buffet bowling late in the afternoon, will boost his tour tally but won't earn him a Test recall.

As Australia's three-day game against Sussex petered out to its inevitable draw, Cowan and Matthew Wade (30 not out) put on an unbeaten 61-run partnership before the players shook hands and play was called off at 5.20pm, the earliest possible stumps time. Cowan might have wanted to push on in pursuit of his first century in a first-class match since November but this game wasn't about personal milestones so much as preparing players for Test battle.

In that regard, it was Usman Khawaja and Phillip Hughes who most wanted a decent hit during Australia's second innings, although Hughes had already made 84 on the first day. Alas, Khawaja edged to slip for 1 having been promoted to open and Hughes struck 38 during an innings that included a blow to the back of the helmet from Chris Jordan before it ended with a shuffle across the stumps to be lbw to Lewis Hatchett.

Cowan brought up his second half-century of the match from his 73rd delivery with a cut for four off Monty Panesar and both he and Wade cleared the short boundary late in the afternoon as Rory Hamilton-Brown served up some full tosses. Cowan struck two sixes, as many has he has during his Test career, but it was the first-innings centurion Steven Smith who gained the most with the bat from this match for the Australians.

Earlier, Sussex ended their innings at 368 for 7 after completing 100 overs, the maximum allowed for each team's first innings under the agreed conditions of this game. Taylor had gone to lunch on 112 and added nine to his total after the break, as Australia's ring-in player and first-class debutant Ashton Turner leaked a few boundaries during his maiden spell at this level.

Taylor might not yet play in the Old Trafford Test but his innings was a timely way to celebrate his England call-up. Taylor brought up his hundred shortly before lunch with a cover-driven boundary off Nathan Lyon from his 233rd delivery, and it capped off a solid morning for his temporary team, as Sussex added 123 to their overnight total in the first session for the loss of two wickets.

After the second day's play, Jackson Bird described Taylor's innings in underwhelming terms, declaring that although he had batted "quite well" he was "a bit scratchy at times" and had edged a number of deliveries through or wide of the cordon. That was a fair assessment at the time but Taylor looked more comfortable on the third day, especially when driving against the spin of Lyon and Ashton Agar.

He also cut Lyon for an attractive boundary but was fortunate to reach his hundred after he lofted Lyon high over his head and was put down by Agar, who was running back with the flight of the ball from mid-on. It was one of two chances put down by the Australians on the third day - Smith's difficult time in the slips continued when he missed an edge from Callum Jackson off the bowling of Agar.

Jackson provided support for Taylor during a 55-run partnership but after he lofted Lyon over long-on for six, he fell next delivery when he played back and was lbw for 26. Lyon finished with 1 for 99 from 26 overs and while his bowling was not poor - he got some dip and turn at times - nor was it often threatening enough to worry the batsmen. He was far from alone on the third day, though, as none of Australia's attack looked consistently dangerous.

Mitchell Starc picked up the other wicket of the morning when he came around the wicket to Jordan (47) and knocked his leg stump out of the ground with a fullish delivery. However, Starc and James Faulkner both had trouble finding consistent lines, as they had on the second day. Bird beat the bat a few times and drew an edge from Jordan that narrowly evaded Khawaja at gully, but was unable to add to the two wickets he claimed on Saturday.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Graham on July 30, 2013, 2:26 GMT

    I really don't understand the push for Hughes to be dropped by some people, he is young and the only batsman in the two test that has performed a credible knock although in one innings out of 4. But no other batsman has produced a satisfactory innings.

  • seb on July 29, 2013, 10:27 GMT

    Khawaja again proves he is not good enough. Surely it is time for Australia's hopeless dalliance with this under-achiever to end?

  • Nik on July 29, 2013, 9:34 GMT

    Rogers deserves to stay, his first class record is too good to ignore and he's had his fair share of bad luck lately! Warner must play, along with Khawaja, Smith, Cowan Jackson Bird and Lyon. A lot of people here say that Starc should be selected due to his ability to find swing late in the innings, and that compliments his high economy rate. Yet, why not strangle the English Batting with accurate swing bowling from Harris, Siddle and Bird. Give them absolutely nothing and make them come at you!!!!! The English batting line-up have been beaten easily by the Aus bowlers except for Bell and at times Bairstow and Broad(with some luck!!!!). Now it's time for the batsmen to step up, and everyone please remember how young they are. Remember how poor the current English Batsmen were when they were this age(2005 and 2006/7 ashes)

    Aus 3rd test: Rogers,Cowan Khawaja, Clarke, Warner, Smith(leggies will turn in opposite direction to Lyons offies), Haddin, Bird, Siddle, Lyon, Harris

  • Dummy4 on July 29, 2013, 7:53 GMT

    I'd play an extra batsman and ask SPD Smith to bowl lot of overs. They just need lot of runs on the board, Siddle and co. can actually get 10 wickets some how.

  • David on July 29, 2013, 3:30 GMT

    I can't believe Watson continues to escape real scrutiny. Personally, I would play Cowan ahead of Watson - sednd him a message that h has let the side down and needs to either get hi technique right or stick to the shorter form of the game. Cowan is more of a grinder and probably shouldn't have played in the first test because he was sick.

  • Dummy4 on July 29, 2013, 2:49 GMT

    I am really confused about what Khawaja has done to earn all the praise he has, Hughes has at least contributed this series with that last wicket stand (although Agar stole the show) that being said, selection policy is beyond me. Don't know why Lyon was dropped, who gets good bite on the ball, despite not spinning the ball a long way, and don't know what Matthew Wade has done to completely drop out of contention. Just seems odd.

  • mark on July 29, 2013, 2:41 GMT

    Sure, its not looking good going into the 3rd Test. But, it ony takes winning a good toss,and batting, bowling fielding well. Sure this is not yet a strong Aussie side, but the talent is there. A matter of time before they play up to their ability.... ie Watson, Khawaja, Hughes, Smith, Warner, Clarke, and Haddin. These are our we need to stick with them and wait for a few breakout performances, perferrably they all make big runs as a unit rather than one at a time..and turn 50's into hundreds. This is the core of the side looking ahead so tipping with my heart (not head) that we will see a big turnaround over the next three tests..not so long ago that Cook, Bell and co were performing like our boys are now.Poms have,mature, proven test players now.In two seasons or so Hughes, Smith et al will be similarly good test players. Remember Haydos, S Waugh, D Martyn and a few others were very average for their early tests before blossoming.Go Boof's boys. We back you all.

  • Chris on July 29, 2013, 2:27 GMT

    Warner certainly isn't the sharpest tool in the shed, but his record rightly shows him as the second best batsman in tests for Australia (currently active) behind Clarke. He has some mental issues to deal with, but while many lump him as a T20 specialist who can bully weak attacks on flat pitches, remember that his 2nd (I think) test century came on a green, seaming wicket where he carried his bat through the innings as the rest of the team fell around him.

    He actually has the technique to bat in all conditions against all bowling. And really needs to be in the team.

  • Lewis on July 29, 2013, 1:33 GMT

    @Flemingits hard to argue against your logic although I feel that Starc will get the nod for OT for his supposed ability to reverse swing. Bird deserves his chance and if he misses out then he will probably play in the fourth test.Still shocked that Agar was selected and while its technically failed his performance at trent bridge was a panacea for long suffering ex-pats about to suffer 3 consecutive ashes losses in old blighty. I am inclined to go with Lyon. Harris to attack and Bird and Watson to keep it tight and take a few wickets between them. For the batting Smith will be important against spin and i am predicting Khawaja will continue his form from lords as he is a big match player. Boof will get the selections right, he understands the game well.

  • Android on July 29, 2013, 1:21 GMT

    Why are none of you stating the glaring obvious, Watson is the one that should be dropped. Two plus years of mediocre scores and is more of an lbw bunny than ever. Warner is a match winner. You should play him in every game.