Australia pile on the runsSean Fuller |
Each Australian batsman selected for the tour match against Worcestershire spent useful time in the middle today, as Australia piled on the runs on day two. Australia didn’t have it all their own way though, as the Worcs bowlers put in a spirited performance against a formiddable batting lineup, with young seamer Nadeem Malik and West Australian Matthew Mason doing the bulk of the damage.
Following the almost-washout on day 1, the second morning kicked off with Langer and Hayden in an aggressive frame of mind, as they piled on 110 runs in a blistering opening stand. Matthew Mason eventually got the breakthrough when he removed Langer, and it began a good period for Worcestershire, as wickets fell on a fairly regular basis throughout the afternoon. Hayden and Langer both managed half centuries, but Clarke, Katich and Ponting couldn’t get beyond a brief start, and test outsider Brad Hodge spent over two hours at the crease for his 38.
Australia found themselves looking at perhaps bowling before the day was out when Ponting became the 6th wicket to fall with the score on 227, but a big 7th wicket stand allowed the Australian captain to look at an overnight declaration instead. Gillespie and Haddin added 123 in their lengthy stand, Haddin dominating the partnership with a blazing 94 that included 50 runs in boundaries and took just 96 deliveries. He eventually became Malik’s third victim just short of his century, but Gillespie continued on to his 6th First Class half-century, and batted until the close of play while losing partners Kasprowicz and Tait, finishing on 53 not out.
Ricky Ponting and the Australian selectors will be hoping the weather allows their bowlers a good workout tomorrow. Eyes will be glued in particular to the battle for the final test spot between the out of form Jason Gillespie and Michael Kasprowicz, and the first foray on English soil for rising star Shaun Tait since his disasterous run at Durham last season.
Brad Haddin 94, Matthew Hayden 79
Nadeem Malik 3/78, Matthew Mason 2/65