Australians 313-9 (Clarke 76, D Hussey 67) beat
Essex 134 (Cummins 3-26) by 179 runs
Tour game, Chelmsford
The touring Australians appear to be in fine fettle heading into the One-Day International series with England, winning their final tour game against Essex by 179 runs.
The crushing win came on the back of half-centuries from Michael Clarke and David Hussey before young quick bowler Patrick Cummins returned figures of three for 26.
In reply to Australia's formidable 313 for nine, Essex, despite the presence of Alastair Cook and Ravi Bopara in their ranks, were dismissed for just 134 in reply.
England captain Cook managed just five in 15 balls while Bopara covered himself in a touch more glory by making 39 in 54 balls, but his dismissal left his side at 95 for five and effectively out of the contest.
Essex started poorly, allowing Australia's openers Shane Watson (33) and David Warner (26) to make a flying start and although they were pegged back somewhat, the platform was set for Clarke, Hussey and Matthew Wade to make in impact.
Clarke retired after hitting 76 in 73 balls, Hussey stroked 67 in 66 and Wade scored a brisk 47 in 43. Steve Smith weighed in with 30 and Brett Lee helped himself to a boundary and a maximum in hitting 14 in 13 deliveries.
Reece Topley - expected by many to break through and become an England bowler in years to come - showed some of his promise with four for 46 while Graham Napier partially recovered from being hammered early on to return two for 71.
Reliable spinner Tim Phillips finished with two for 49, removing the dangerous pairing of Hussey and Smith.
When faced with a target of over 300, it is imperative that you make a good start. Essex got a calamitous one when Australian opening bowlers Lee (1-16) and Clint McKay (1-25) removed Mark Pettini for one and Cook respectively.
They were in big trouble at 14 for three when Tom Westley was bowled by Cummins for four, leaving Bopara with the uncomfortable job of rebuilding the innings with the Australians sensing an early finish.
He did his best, adding 39 with the experienced Ryan ten Doeschate (15), and then forging a useful partnership with James Foster before he was caught behind by Wade off Watson.
Foster made a valiant 41 in 36 balls, having swiftly lost Greg Smith (2) and Napier (8), the only two players left who could have realistically helped him take the fight to the tourists.
He fell with the score on 120, Phillips was run out for 10 and left-arm spinner Xavier Doherty bowled Topley for two to complete the rout.
Cook and Bopara will return to the England camp ready for Friday's ODI at Lord's with important news - it does not seem to matter how much of a transitional period that this Australian side is in, they have a bowling attack to be respected and enough class batsmen to give England's bowlers plenty to think about.
The gauntlet has been well and truly laid down.
© Cricket World 2012
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