Australian XI 582 for 7 (Martyn 154*, Ponting 119, Langer 115) lead Leicestershire 217 (Rogers 56, Lee 4-58) by 365 runs
Australia's batsmen produced an effortless transition from the one-day circus to the rigours of first-class cricket, as Justin Langer, Damien Martyn and Ricky Ponting all recorded centuries on the second day against Leicestershire at Grace Road. By the close, Martyn was still there, unbeaten on 154, as Australia opted for batting practice against a deflated attack. The game is their solitary three-day warm-up before the first Test at Lord's, which gets underway on Thursday, but on this evidence, they are already finely tuned.
After bowling Leicestershire out for 217 on the first day, Australia resumed in the morning on 169 for 2 with Langer unbeaten on 71 in his first competitive innings for three months. With few demons in the pitch, he progressed effortlessly to his 70th first-class century, before becoming a third wicket for the deserving John Maunders.
There was no let-up for Leicestershire after Langer's departure, however, as Ponting and Martyn combined for a sublime 201-run stand for the fourth wicket. Ottis Gibson eventually broke the stand by bowling Ponting, but not before he had racked up 119 in a shade over four hours, with nine fours and two sixes.
One wicket brought two, when Simon Katich failed to cash in on the conditions and was bowled by David Masters for 4, but Adam Gilchrist, with that recent century against England under his belt, joined Martyn to push Australia's total up towards 500. He too had his stumps rattled, this time by Stuart Broad for 26, who followed up with wicket of Brett Lee, caught by Darren Robinson for 6.
At that point Australia might have been contemplating a declaration, but Jason Gillespie settled in so well that he and Martyn were both undefeated at the close, having added 73 for the eighth wicket. Gillespie finished one short of his sixth first-class fifty, as Australia contemplated a satisfactory day's work.
"It was a superb team performance," said Langer. "To score that many runs in a day and to have bowled so well on Friday is a very good start to our Ashes campaign. That is what these games are about, and it has been a perfect preparation so far."