Rain stops Australia but not Katich
Australians 396 & 65 for 1 drew with Jamaica XI 297 and 194 (Katich 4-15)
The only thing that didn't go right for Simon Katich in a dream all-round match was that rain arrived to force a draw with the Australians on the verge of victory over a Jamaica XI. Following his first-innings 97, which sealed a Test return, Katich chipped in with four wickets from his left-arm wrist spin before scoring 37 not out as the team posted 65 for 1. They needed only 31 more when the weather decided the result.
In the lead-up to the match there had been debate over who would replace Michael Clarke for the opening match of the three-game series - Ashley Noffke and Brad Hodge also had claims - but the discussion has ended. Katich can prepare to add his first Test for two and a half years at Sabina Park on Thursday.
Stuart MacGill and Katich combined for seven wickets as the hosts were dismissed for 194 in their second innings. Katich swept through the tail with 4 for 15, adding to his two victims on day one, while MacGill captured seven for the match in an important return for Australia's No. 1 spinner. He finished with 3 for 50 after starting by bowling Simon Jackson and having Shawn Findlay caught at leg slip in his opening over.
"I thought he was great, I thought Stuey just got better and better as the game went on," Tim Nielsen, the coach, told AAP. "It showed with a bit of work in match conditions that he is headed in the right direction, and that is fantastic for us."
Carlton Baugh, who picked up 111 not out in the first innings, top scored with 36, but Brenton Parchment's preparations for the Test did not go well. Parchment, who came into the squad after Chris Gayle was ruled out with a groin injury, was dismissed for 4 when caught and bowled by Mitchell Johnson.
Johnson, Brett Lee and Stuart Clark all made a breakthrough as the bowlers completed a useful workout. Phil Jaques departed for 2 to the final ball before tea, but Katich and Ricky Ponting (20 not out) looked like reaching the target until the match was called off an hour and a half early.
However, the weather did not dampen Nielsen's outlook. "From a workout point of view and from a preparation point of view," he said, "it went almost as good as we could have planned."