It may have been for all intents and purposes a picnic game to open the Australian tour, but England were probably looking for a more decisive victory than the one they scored yesterday. England defeated the ACB Chairman's XI by one run on the final ball of a match watched at the Lilac Hill ground in outer Perth by a capacity crowd of about 11000.
Simon Katich, captain of the Chairman's XI, which included retired Test players Dennis Lillee, Bruce Reid and Graeme Wood alongside Victorian batsman Matthew Elliott and eight Western Australian players, won the toss and sent England into bat. Mike Atherton showed that does still have some value as a limited-over batsman, scoring 88 before falling to a brilliant diving catch by an airborne Katich at extra cover. Alec Stewart made 74 on a ground where he played club cricket for Midland-Guildford in the eighties. Another ex-Midland-Guildford batsman, John Crawley scored 64 from 50 balls. England's innings ended at 296 for 5.
Forty-nine year-old Dennis Lillee conceded 0/22 from his six overs. Bruce Reid, carrying more weight than in his playing days, dismissed Mark Butcher to take 1/19 from his seven overs.
Ryan Campbell (74) and Mike Hussey (32), both fringe players for Australian selection, got the Chairman's XI off to a brisk start. Campbell's runs came from just 60 balls including eight fours and three sixes. While the run rate remained high throughout the Chairman's XI innings, wickets fell regularly. With one ball of the 50th over remaining, the ACB side needed two runs for victory, tailender Jo Angel facing Darren Gough. Angel was short of his ground attempting a quick single as Gough removed the bails at the bowlers end and England had won the game.
Gough was best of England's bowlers, taking 2/40 from his ten overs. Alex Tudor, playing his first game for a senior England side, took 3/62 from his ten.
England have named a Test-strength team for the opening first-class match of the tour, against Western Australia beginning on Saturday.
The team is:
Alec Stewart (capt), Nasser Hussain, Mark Butcher, Michael Atherton, Graham Thorpe, Mark Ramprakash, John Crawley, Dominic Cork, Robert Croft, Darren Gough, Angus Fraser, Alan Mullally