For those Australians involved in the Ashes their county seasons now come to a halt, while others finish their IPL campaigns although one key figure will be hanging around
In the end, Smith only managed three innings for Sussex but looked in decent touch, although wore an increasingly miffed expression each time he was given lbw
. It's likely the DRS would have had a good workout had it been in place. Whether it is a genuine tactic for England during the Ashes to bowl straight remains to be seen; he is a prolific player through the leg side and they have fallen into that trap before.
Face a lot of balls, score a lot of runs. It's a regular pattern for Labuschagne who has tuned up for India and the Ashes with more than 500 runs. It was a quiet start with 17 and 5 in his opening match against Durham, but after that he strung together 64, 65, 170*, 42, 1 and 138. The pair of scores at Headingley
could yet be significant. He made twin fifties there in the 2019 Ashes. While his newly-introduced offspin adds another string (and brought a career-best 4 for 89) it's probably fair to say things won't be going to plan if it's seen too much over the six Tests.
Another very solid county stint for Harris who, alongside Matt Renshaw, is one of the additional top-order options in Australia's squad should a decision need to be made regarding Warner. Harris now averages 49.67 across his various county spells with Gloucestershire and Leicestershire, passing 10,000 first-class runs in the latest round of matches
. Alongside an average of 46.81 for Victoria since the 2019 Ashes, Harris has certainly put the domestic runs on the board. After a home summer of being the spare batter, he may soon get the chance to show whether he can translate that consistently to Test cricket.
He's looking a pretty handy official or unofficial reserve at the moment. It's not quite as simple as just saying that Neser should play in the Ashes - there are some high-quality players to dislodge - but he can't have done much more
and if there was ever a horse for a course Neser would be it, particularly with the Ashes being played earlier than has become the norm. However, there is also the sneaking suspicion that Neser could be one of the very unlucky cricketers who does get what his numbers suggest he deserves.
Abbott comes in the same bracket as Neser, although has yet to earn a Test debut. He, too, will be part of Australia's preparation camp although not, as yet, part of the full squad. His returns with bat and ball for Surrey speak of a player who, more often than not, finds a way to contribute for whichever team he is part of. "His control of line and length, his pace, is just right for the amount of movement he can generate in the air," Greg Shipperd, the incoming New South Wales coach, said earlier this month. "Through his T20 skill development he has learned to bowl a lot of cutters and is able to seam the ball in conditions. To right- or left-handers he presents a handful"
It should come as little surprise that Warner strung together a decent IPL although his strike-rate was a regular talking point. He signed off with 86 from 53 balls against CSK
but in another match Capitals lost heavily. Clearly the scoring rate will be less of a factor come Test cricket, but whether the run-scoring form can be translated only time will tell. Mohammad Shami around the wicket with a new Dukes ball at The Oval will likely reveal more.
Green's scintillating maiden T20 hundred
is the modern-day double-edged sword. Having come with the burden of a massive price tag he will leave with some notable successes, but helping Mumbai to the playoffs means he could be at the IPL right until the end, further cutting into his time to prepare for the WTC final. Last season he found the transition hard from T20 to Tests, but in a sign of his growth looked much more at home in India when he returned from an injury layoff.
Nine overs and an early return home
. It's precious little to make a judgement on how Test-ready Hazlewood may be as he looks to play more than one match in a series for the first time since early 2021. His IPL stint had been talked up as the ideal launching pad to build workload but he only managed playing three games and didn't bowl four overs in any of them. Although CA has insisted he's on track for the WTC final, it wouldn't be a surprise if he was held back.
A lean tournament with the bat for Marsh - and 63 of his runs came in one innings - after he'd come into it on the crest of a wave after his outstanding ODI performances. Missed Capitals' last couple of matches with what is understood to be a minor adductor strain. Had earned what was effectively the final spot in the Ashes squad as direct cover for Green.