Monday, 11 November 2013

England's Ashes Warm Up

England, coming off the back of a very wet and cold ‘warm up’ game against Australia ‘A’, travel to Sydney and hopefully warmer surroundings today in the last tour match before the first Test next week. Cricket Australia Invitational XI are the opponents who are led by Peter Nevill and feature a number of New South Wales players.

Captain Cook


For the second game in a row the Aussie selectors have selected a batting heavy eleven, with several players who could feature in the Ashes series, but a weakened bowling attack.

Callum Ferguson, Aaron Finch, Steve O’Keefe and Ed Cowan are included in the XI although Usman Khawaja, who had intended to play, has been released to play for Queensland and Phil Hughes has also gone back to Adelaide to play in the next round of Shield matches that start on the same day as the England game.

The bowling attack is a lot greener. New South Wales fringe players, Josh Lalor, Chris Tremain, and Nic Bills are the men who along with O’Keefe are charged with taking it to a presumably strong England XI.

Australia are finally deeming the Shield as important but could be missing a trick by not putting their second string in to the shop window. One thing it is showing, is the fact that they may now be a settled squad, something that Michael Clarke has been craving for some time.

Clarke...settled side

Is it Australia’s plan to starve England of quality bowling before the first Test? I’m not sure it is wise to give the tourists a glorified net, just like in Hobart. Cutting and Copeland looked like honest pros and moved it around early on but Cook and the watchful Carberry saw off the new ball and the rest was borderline bullying.

If it is a cunning plan to starve England of a meaningful bat then I hope Captain Cook wins the toss and bats for three days. Another big ton will be a massive boost for Carberry and KP along with Bairstow, who will potentially come in for the injured Matt Prior, need some time in the middle.

That’ll teach ‘em.

The physio's table...home of the Australian quicks these days

What an opportunity it is for the young quicks though. With Australia’s bowling attack seemingly spending more time on the physio table than Darren Anderton and Jamie Redknapp, a terrific spell with the new ball couldn’t come at a better time. It’s not as if Australia don’t blood the youngsters; remember Ashton Agar?


For the fans who don’t know the young men: shame on you! Bills is a quick from North Sydney Bears who has played Shield cricket but is way back in the NSW queue. Lalor is Pat Cummins’ opening partner for Penrith Panthers who has played BBL cricket and is less injury prone than his new ball buddy and Tremain is currently playing grade cricket after shining for UNSW.

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