Australians 562 (Marsh 169, Nevill 78, Warner 94, Watson 52) and 221 (Clarke 77, Porter 3-42) beat Essex 414 (Westley 144, Bopara 107, Starc 6-51) and 200 (ten Doeschate 61, Hazlewood 4-42, Starc 3-26) by 169 runs
Josh Hazlewood helps Australia beat Essex
Australia beat Essex by 169 runs in their final warm-up before the Ashes begins on Wednesday
As confirmation of Ryan Harris' retirement filtered around Chelmsford, Jesse Ryder was collaring Josh Hazlewood for 26 runs from the young paceman's first over. The Australians looked understandably flat, having taken in an emotional address from Harris barely an hour before.
Professional sport, though, is about pushing through all distractions and preparing for what lies ahead. The fact that Harris will not be going there with them made it imperative for others to step forward, and Hazlewood duly regathered himself after Ryder's early blows to help round up Essex and complete a second comfortable Australian victory in as many tour matches.
Mitchell Starc was also effective, and if there was a slightly apologetic air about the way the Australians celebrated their wickets, it was at least partly because they arrived with increasing regularity in the afternoon. Even Nathan Lyon managed to winkle out the last man Aron Nijjar, albeit after he had been struck into the radio commentary box by Tom Moore and finished the match with figures of 1 for 201.
Michael Clarke, who took a tremendously sharp slips catch to dismiss James Foster, also gave equal bowling time to his two allrounders Shane Watson and Mitchell Marsh. As in the first innings, Watson looked the more miserly, Marsh potentially the more explosive. It will be up to the selection chairman Rod Marsh and coach Darren Lehmann to deliberate on how to split the pair ahead of the Cardiff Test.
Ryder's early fireworks obscured the fact that Essex had two players unable to bat. In addition to Nick Browne, the first-innings centurion Tom Westley was nursing bruised ribs sustained during his 144 on day two. That innings provided some of Ryder's motivation but, after Hazlewood struck first by pinning Jaik Mickleburgh in front of the stumps, Starc proved the unsustainable nature of the New Zealander's assault by plucking out middle stump.
Ravi Bopara and Ryan ten Doeschate prospered for a time, again targeting Lyon's spin, but when Starc struck Essex's captain so palpably lbw that he virtually walked, the match tilted swiftly. Hazlewood was able to exploit a modicum of variable bounce in a manner that any tall seamer would have been proud of, and the end arrived before tea.
Clarke, who had made some useful second-innings runs to complete his own preparation for Cardiff, declared the Australians to be in fine fettle. They had of course played two Tests in the West Indies before reaching English shores, and there is no question about the 2015 Australians having a better lead-in than those of 2013.
"I think we're as well prepared as we can be for this first Test match," Clarke said. "I think individuals have got what they needed and I think the build up now is really exciting for the players. We've needed these two tour games, they've both been a success, we've had two wins in two games in the UK so far, so that's a real positive and that was our main focus, so we can grab this momentum and take it into the first Test match now."