England took on Western Australia in their first warm-up game and had a good start to their Ashes campaign with both bat and ball. The two day match ended in a draw but gave the touring side a good chance to get accustomed to the conditions down under and also the selectors an idea as to which players they should go with for the first test which is scheduled to take place at the Gabba from November 23
The Western Australian line-up wasn’t packed with top stars but had a decent line up that tested England with both bat and ball. They were led by Nathan Coulter-Nile who has a good chance of being selected in the Ashes squad. England won the toss and elected to bat at the WACA and did rather well for their first outing.
Alistair Cook had a shocking start to his Ashes campaign being dismissed of Coulter-Nile’s second ball for a duck. Cook is the senior most player in the side and will have to play extremely well if England are to post 300 plus scores. His opening partner M Stoneman (85) played well and put together a 153 run partnership with J Vince (82). Captain Joe Root also failed in his first outing and was dismissed cheaply for 9.
DJ Malan and G Ballance are battling for a place in the first test and both of them scored half centuries and retired out. Malan is tipped to be the selectors first choice and he scored at a strike rate of 63 when compared to Ballance who scored at 50. J Bairstow came lower down the order and made a quick-fire 36 of just 37 balls and C Woakes made 25 to get England to 349.
The experienced James Anderson and Stuart Broad will once again lead the England bowling line-up in what will most likely be their final Ashes series down under. Anderson was the star with the ball sending down 13 overs and taking 4 wickets. Broad turned out to be very expensive sending down 13 overs for 64 runs and capturing just 1 wicket.
The competition for the third seamer is between C Overton and J Ball. Overton sent down 13 overs and took 3 wickets but went at a run rate in excess of 5 while Ball took one wicket and went at a run rate of 2.58. Steven Finn and Moeen Ali did not take part as the selectors thought it best to rest them for the first two games due to injury concerns. If Finn is deemed fit, he will most likely be picked as the third seamer while Ali is certain to be selected. England’s next warm-up game in on November 8 against at the Adelaide Oval against a Cricket Australia XI.
Mitchell Starc Warning
Australia’s spearhead Mitchell Starc who has been out of action or a long time due to injury made his return to Sheffield Shield cricket and sent a warning by taking a hat-trick. Starc finished with four wickets while Josh Hazelwood who is expected to partner Starc in the first test finished with 3 wickets.