Prime Minister’s XI 254-9 (43 overs). England 225-3 (33.3 overs)
England win by 7 wickets D/L.
This is exactly the kind of match England would have lost a few years ago. Remember that humiliating Benson and Hedges World Series in 1995 when we not only lost to the Canary Yellows, we also got stuffed by Australia A (the tweety pies)? When the Aussie young guns qualified for the finals at our expense, there wasn’t so much egg on English faces as a whole omelette.
Fortunately the boot’s on the other foot these days. Indeed, it could be argued that the England Lions bowling unit is better than Australia’s first string. If everyone was fit and available, the Lions could field an attack of Tremlett, Shahzad, Finn and Onions. Is that better than Harris, Johnson, Siddle and Bollinger? It’s a close call.
As we saw in Hobart before the Ashes, the current crop of Aussie youngsters aren’t up to much. We saw a few more of them in Canberra yesterday. We’re still not impressed. Usman Khawaja is far and away their best up and coming batsman, but he’s only managed a top score of 37 in five innings against England this winter. He made just 22 for the Prime Minister’s XI.
After an hour’s play it looked like it was going to be an exciting contest. The Aussies got off to a flyer with the bat. Chris Woakes and Ajmal Shahzad struggled to control the new ball – which was swinging like a Frenchman at a wife swapping party – and only the introduction of Yardy and James Tredwell, who’s looking more like Grant and Phil Mitchell’s long lost younger brother every day, slowed down the run rate.
Thankfully, England eventually asserted their authority and restricted the Prime Minister’s XI to 254 in 42 overs. England’s target was reduced to 223 off 35 overs after a rain delay – not a straightforward task by any means. However, once our batsmen had seen off an opening burst by Brett Lee, who is trying to earn selection for the World Cup, it was plain sailing.
Ian Bell made a delightful 124 off just 102 balls to win his personal duel with Jonathan Trott for the number three batsman berth. With Strauss and Davies likely to open, and KP, Colly and Eoin Morgan nailed down at four, five and six respectively, only one of Trott and Bell will make the starting XI when the CB series begins.
What a delightful scenario. When the tweety pies beat England in 1995 their team boasted the likes of Hayden, Blewett, Martyn, and Langer – guys that would have walked into the England team. What struck us back then was the sheer strength in depth in Australian cricket. I wonder what the Aussies think now that England can afford to leave out Cook and Trott – who were, after all, our leading scorers in the Ashes?