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Jaques lifts Ashes chances with another ton

Published: Sunday, November 12, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
 
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Sydney:England are becoming sick of the sight of Phil Jaques after the Australian Test opener-in-waiting's second consecutive century against the tourists playing for New South Wales.

The left-hander followed up his 112 for the Prime Minister's XI against the tourists in Canberra on Friday with 107, as NSW made England's bowlers toil away on a docile SCG pitch here on Sunday.

Jaques was supported by fellow Test aspirants skipper Simon Katich (68) and Michael Clarke (50) as NSW reached stumps on the opening day of the three-day practice match at 325 for five.

At stumps, newcomer Daniel Smith was on 36 and teenager Moises Henriques was 25.

England encountered more road blocks as they tried to adjust to Australian pitch conditions ahead of the opening Ashes Test in Brisbane on Nov 23.

Jaques, who has played two Tests, continues to pressure incumbent Test opening pair Justin Langer and Matthew Hayden ahead of the first Test, and played a chanceless innings until he was caught by Steve Harmison at wide mid-off, off finger-spinner Ashley Giles.

He faced 157 balls with 11 boundaries and two sixes off James Anderson and Monty Panesar and put on 155 runs for the second wicket with Katich in as many minutes.

England had meagre pickings in the first two sessions as NSW chugged along at more than four runs an over, but the bowlers tightened their line in the last session to keep a check on the scoring.

Giles finished with 2-46 off 15 overs with Harmison, James Anderson (1-45) and Monty Panesar all claiming a wicket each.

Test spearhead Harmison got the initial breakthrough when he bowled Ed Cowan for 26 in his fifth over.

Katich -- who had a life on 14 when Marcus Trescothick put down a straightforward chance at first slip off Andrew Flintoff -- was out to a splendid outfield running catch by Kevin Pietersen.

Katich lofted Giles to deep mid-wicket, where Pietersen took a tumbling catch just inside the boundary rope. Katich batted for 194 minutes with six fours.

Anderson, who was knocked about early, hit back in his second spell with the wicket of Aaron O'Brien for six, caught at first slip by Trescothick.

Clarke, who played in last year's Ashes series, looked composed in his knock of 50 before he edged Panesar to Trescothick at slip ending his 132-minute stay at the crease with six fours.

Flintoff got more encouragement in his comeback from ankle surgery to get through 15 overs without problems for 0-52.

Left-arm spinner Panesar, under-used in Canberra where he bowled just three overs, had an extended run Sunday, sending down 18 overs. He got a late reward with Clarke's wicket to finish with 1-54.

England gave a pointer to their thinking ahead of the first Test by leaving Chris Read out of their 14-man team, giving Geraint Jones the inside running on the wicketkeeping position.

Read was behind the stumps for England in the recent Champions' Trophy tournament in India, after being recalled to the Test side for the last two home Tests against Pakistan in August.

England and NSW have agreed to play 14 players during the three-day match -- which will not have first-class status -- but only 11 players a side can bat.

Brief Scores:

NSW 325 for 5 (Phil Jaques 107, Simon Katich 68, Michael Clarke 50, D Smith 36 n o, M Henriques 25 n o; Ashley Giles 2 for 46, Monty Panesar 1 for 54, Steve Harmison 1 for 76) Vs England

AFP

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