England have begun their tour of Australia with a 58-run defeat, going down to the ACB Chairman's XI for the first time in the traditional opener to the Ashes series at Lilac Hill. The home side made 301 for seven, the highest-ever total in this annual fixture against Australia's tourists, and England subsided to 243 all out.
England lost Marcus Trescothick and Mark Butcher in the first three overs to leave England struggling on 11 for two, but Nasser Hussain (65) then joined Robert Key (68) to add 135 runs in 21 overs, reviving England's hopes of victory. But the two were dismissed within four overs of each other, and that effectively terminated England's challenge.
The last five wickets fell for just 33 runs in nine overs, with only Alec Stewart (35) playing a further innings of substance. There were five wickets for Western Australia's slow left-arm bowler Brad Hogg, and two apiece for Michael Clark and Paul Wilson.
England had not helped their cause with a wayward performance in the field as the Chairman's XI racked up their imposing 50-over total. Both Stewart and James Foster missed chances behind the stumps, and Steve Harmison bowled 16 wides in his seven overs, including eight in one over that lasted 14 balls. Matthew Hoggard and Andrew Caddick also struggled, while the sixth-wicket pair Mike Hussey and Kade Harvey added 152 runs in just 21 overs.
England could draw some encouragement from the performance of Simon Jones, who managed eight overs and took two wickets, including one with his first ball, on his return from the side injury sustained on his Test debut at Lord's in the summer.
The Chairman's XI started well, with the left-handed West Australian opening pair Chris Rogers and Marcus North putting on 57 for the first wicket. Hoggard then accounted for North, who had made 22 when he gave a straightforward catch to Hussain at cover. Jones struck 12 runs later, forcing Rogers (30) to give a catch to John Crawley at gully.
After Harmison's nightmare, Ashley Giles steadied England with three wickets as the Chairman's XI slipped to 122 for five. Ryan Campbell (14) and Hogg (0) fell in the same over, followed by the former Test batsman David Hookes (10).
Harvey then joined Hussey to provide huge entertainment for the 10,000 capacity crowd before Hussey (69) became Jones' second victim after being dropped by Foster earlier in the over. Harvey's 114 came off just 88 balls and included six sixes before he was caught on the boundary in the final over by Trescothick.