England bowlers struggle again

Following on from his dominant century for the Prime Minister’s XI on Friday, Phil Jaques put England’s bowlers to the sword again in a tour match, this time representing New South Wales. The opener struck a century off 141 deliveries against a full-strength England attack to put NSW in a strong position, and recieved good support from Simon Katich and Michael Clarke as the day wore on. None of the English bowlers got on top of the batting, but Ashley Giles returned the best figures with two wickets.

New South Wales won the toss and elected to bat on a good wicket under clear skies, with both sides fielding 14 players in accordance with the wishes of the touring team. England had their chances to get on top early, as Harmison dismissed Cowan for a quickfire 26 and both Jaques and Katich gave early chances. Matthew Hoggard put down a return chance from Jaques however, and Katich was dropped in the slips by Trescothick. From there, the NSW batsmen gradually took control of proceedings, with Jaques and Katich adding 155 for the second wicket and occupying the crease until shortly before the tea break. The England bowlers struggled almost universally, with only Andrew Flintoff regularly threatening to take a wicket. As the day wore on the England spinners bowled more of the overs, and Ashley Giles grabbed a crucial pair of wickets before the break. He removed Jaques for 107 and Katich for 68, as both men were caught attempting aggressive shots. The only major bowler who was not used was Sajid Mahmood, who remained mysteriously absent from the attack for the entire day’s play.

England were right back in the game after the tea break, as James Anderson had Aaron O’Brien caught at slip. Some impressive batting from Michael Clarke steadied the innings however, and rookie wicket-keeper Daniel Smith batted through to stumps, unbeaten on 36. Clarke reached a patient half-century before being caught at slip off the bowling of Monty Panesar, and young all-rounder Moses Henriques ended the day in style with a handful of crisp boundaries against the new ball, pushing the score up to 325.

With only three days scheduled in the match, it seems unlikely that England will get more than one chance to bat, and their bowlers did little to fill England fans with hope today. New South Wales had a good day however, and while they have few test candidates in their batting lineup, their bowling is star-studded. Glenn McGrath, Brett Lee, Stuart Clark, Nathan Bracken and Stuart MacGill are all likely to get a workout tomorrow ahead of potential appearances in the test series that begins on November 23 in Brisbane. Already, Phil Jaques has done his chances of a call-up to the test side no harm, and Bracken and Clark in particular will be hoping to make their mark tomorrow.

Score Summary
New South Wales – 325-5
Phil Jaques 107, Simon Katich 68
Ashley Giles 2-46, James Anderson 1-45

New South Wales lead by 325 runs with two days remaining.

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