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England draw final warm-up match of Ashes

Published: Sunday, November 19, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
 
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Adelaide:England completed their final warm-up match ahead of Thursday's eagerly awaited Ashes Test opener against Australia by drawing with South Australia at the Adelaide Oval.

South Australia were 164 for two in their second innings, trailing England by four runs, when the teams agreed to an early end to the three-day match on Sunday.

England were bowled out for 415 before lunch, but gained little else from the middle and final sessions, as the South Australians batted out the remaining time for the loss of just two wickets.

Opener Daniel Harris finished unbeaten on 71 and Callum Ferguson was seven not out.

Ian Bell, whose fighting 132 Saturday readied him for batting at No.3 at the Gabba in Brisbane, said England had dealt with adversity since winning the Ashes last year, having lost Michael Vaughan, Simon Jones and Marcus Trescothick to injury and illness.

"We've been through things like this before, (this) year in India we lost three or four players to injury before the first Test match," Bell told reporters.

"But the great thing about this squad we do have is when things do get tough we stick together and we seem to get better performances out of each other.

"This is what has happened so far, especially in the past two warm-up games, we've come out and played some good cricket."

Matthew Elliott (55) made his first first-class half-century of the season, before he was out to left-arm spinner Monty Panesar, who is vying with Ashley Giles to play in the first Test.

Panesar took 1-34, while part-timer Kevin Pietersen (1-24) claimed a wicket when Cameron Borgas (27) hit to deep mid-wicket.

England improved their performance in each match against New South Wales and South Australia after being thrashed by the Prime Minister's XI in a one-dayer.

The tourists can also take heart from some encouraging individual efforts into the first Test.

All six Test batsmen have scored at least one half-century from a maximum three innings, while Kevin Pietersen and Ian Bell posted centuries against New South Wales and South Australia respectively.

Aside from Harmison, who bowled 25 overs against New South Wales but sat out the Adelaide game with a side strain, all of the bowlers have sent down plenty of overs.

England got in 124.1 overs of batting practice ahead of the opening Test before they were dismissed holding an innings lead of 168 runs.

Skipper Andrew Flintoff made 47 and fast bowler Sajid Mahmood 41 off 46 balls.

Flintoff was bowled by leg-spinner Cullen Bailey attempting a big hit, while Mahmood clubbed two sixes and four boundaries coming in at No.8, the batting position that has given the tourists the most concern on this tour.

Mahmood will only come into the Brisbane Test side if pace spearhead Steve Harmison does not recover from his injury.

Wicketkeeper Geraint Jones, who will play at the Gabba because of his superior batting ability over Chris Read, made a stylish 33 off 72 balls before he was caught at bat-pad.

Paceman Shaun Tait finished with 3-87, and bowled six overs Sunday after spending time off the ground late Saturday because of cramp.

Bailey claimed 3-128 off 28.1 overs, while wicketkeeper Shane Deitz finished with five dismissals.

AFP

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