The various pieces of the tourists’ jigsaw continued to slot into place as they comfortably wrapped up victory over Somerset on the final day at Taunton.
With Shane Watson having already secured the opening berth with his first innings 90, Nathan Lyon having seen off the threat from Fawad Ahmed and Ashton Agar, and Michael Clarke making a successful return from injury, it just remains to be seen who will form the identity of Australia’s middle-order at Trent Bridge.
Usman Khawaja and Phil Hughes now both look strong contenders after hitting fluent half-centuries in their side’s run chase of 260 today. Khawaja, along with Ed Cowan, were Australia’s unbeaten batsmen at the start of play and the pair were largely untroubled in compiling an opening stand of 86.
Cowan’s dismissal to Gemaal Hussain was the sole low point in the day for the tourists and he will be hoping that his knock was enough to earn him another chance to impress against Worcestershire. Khawaja, meanwhile, looked much-improved from his first innings struggles and hit 10 boundaries on his way to 73 off 116 balls.
Khawaja was caught off left-arm spinner George Dockrell, with the Irishman then giving Somerset a glimmer of hope by removing Hughes (50) and Clarke (26) in successive overs with 56 still needed. However, Brad Haddin dominated an unbroken fifth-wicket partnership with James Faulkner, belting 52 off only 40 deliveries to continue his good form on the tour, which began with a century whilst leading the ‘A’ side against Scotland.
The Australians’ final tour game is at New Road, Worcester and begins on Tuesday ahead of the first Test which commences eight days later. Worcestershire, of course, will have Nick Compton playing for them after an arrangement was reached between them, his parent club Somerset and the ECB to allow him more first-class cricket before the Ashes in case he is needed following an injury to one of England’s first choice line-up.
© Cricket World 2013