Tait and Hogg lift Australian bowling spirits
Brad Hogg's return to wicket-taking form and Shaun Tait's useful collection highlighted an improved Australian bowling performance as they restricted England to 197 on the way to a five-wicket warm-up win. While Tait captured 4 for 33 off 8.3 overs, Hogg's figures of 2 for 28 off ten were also valuable ahead of a tournament where spin is expected to play a significant part.
In his previous six games Hogg had not taken a wicket, but he produced two important moments to remove Ian Bell, who was stumped smartly for 56, and pick up Michael Vaughan an over later for 62. "Right from the start he bowled a bit quicker through the air," Ricky Ponting told AFP. "He used his variations very well and got two wickets with his wrong'un. It's good to see him back to his lively self again."
Ponting was also pleased with the work of Tait after speaking with him about his tactics for the tournament. Tait dismissed Ed Joyce with an inswinging yorker, knocked over Kevin Pietersen and grabbed two wickets to end the innings.
"I sat down and had a bit of chat with Shaun about how he can be best used," Ponting said. "Today he showed everybody just how effective he can be - and it's not the first time he's done that." Stuart Clark was also impressive, picking up 3 for 16 after being the eighth bowler Ponting called on.
Adam Gilchrist and Shane Watson kept the side on track for the success with a 140-run opening stand and the result ended England's streak of three consecutive victories over Australia. "It was a good solid hit-out," Ponting said. "I said the other day I wanted the guys to approach these games as proper one-day internationals and play them with that sort of intensity."
England's brightest spot was the performance of Vaughan, who was returning from a leg injury that interrupted his tour of Australia. "It's nice to get a few runs, spend some time in the middle and test the hamstring in a match situation," Vaughan said.
However, Vaughan was disappointed his side suffered a collapse of 9 for 75 after he and Bell put on 116 for the second wicket. "At 122 for 2 you expect to get 250 minimum," he said. "That kind of score on that kind of pitch would have been a really competitive total. But sometimes it's good that something like this happens before the actual tournament starts because it gives us an indication of how we are going to have to play on these kind of wickets."