Fifties For Hughes, Cowan And Smith at Hove

Steve Smith ended on 98 on day one at Hove.
©Action Images / Jason O'Brien Livepic

Australians 354-5 (Smith 98no) v
Tour Match, Hove, day one

The Australians’ beleaguered batting line-up received a welcome boost ahead of next week’s third Ashes Test at Old Trafford. All of their top four made meaningful contributions and found the going relatively easy on another sunny day on the south coast.

Openers Ed Cowan and Phil Hughes overcame some early difficulties, in particular against in-form quick-bowler Chris Jordan, and added 150 in 35 overs. They undoubtedly benefited from a pitch that was on the edge of the square, a lightning-quick outfield scorched brown by the recent dry weather, and the absence of two of Sussex’s first choice attack. James Anyon was unavailable due to injury and was replaced by Twenty20 specialist Chris Liddle, while spearhead Steve Magoffin was rested.

Stand-in skipper Cowan was eventually dismissed by left-armer Lewis Hatchett, who found some swing and bowled impressively in only his 10th first-class match, for 66, with Hughes following suit a little later, caught by debutant wicket-keeper Callum Jackson, who is playing because of a finger injury to Ben Brown.

Usman Khawaja made 40 before becoming the first man to fall in a Monty Panesar double-strike. Panesar has endured a difficult season and has possibly been overtaken in England’s spin-bowling ranks by the likes of James Tredwell and Lancashire’s Simon Kerrigan. However, he had Khawaja caught by Chris Jordan and then dismissed Matthew Wade for a duck in his next over.

That made it 218 for four and Sussex perhaps sensed a way back. Steve Smith, though, had other ideas and played fluently to end on 98 off only 155 balls. He added 131 with James Faulkner for the fifth-wicket before the all-rounder gave Panesar a third wicket when on 48.

The tourists had earlier given a debut to young Western Australian off-spinner Ashton Turner. Turner was called up the Australian squad for this match to make up the eleven after several members of the Ashes squad were rested. He is currently in England, where he has been playing club cricket in Sussex and training at the Ageas Bowl International Cricket Academy in Southampton.

© Cricket World 2013