Ronchi, Voges help CA XI thrash ECB Academy

Published: Friday, December 8, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Perth:Much-hyped England spinner Monty Panesar enjoyed a day of mixed fortunes at the Lilac Hill festival match here.

With widespread calls for his inclusion in England's team for the third Ashes Test, starting on Dec 14 at the WACA Ground, in Perth, Panesar had a timely chance to showcase his talents in the limited-overs match on Friday.

The Cricket Australia Chairman's XI beat the England and Wales Cricket Board Chairman's XI comfortably by seven wickets, making 260 in 40.1 overs for the loss of just three wickets, in reply to the English team's 259 for eight, but most of the interest centred on the performance of England Test hopefuls, and Panesar in particular.

Panesar was expensive at times in the face of a batting onslaught by the home side, and Western Australia (WA) opener Luke Ronchi in particular. But he also claimed two wickets.

Brought on to warm applause in the 12th over, with the home side scoring at almost eight runs an over, Panesar struck immediately, bowling WA opener Chris Rogers for 32 with his second ball.

Rogers attempted a reverse sweep and failed to make contact.

It was a fine start for Panesar but he was about to be fully tested by the aggressive batting of Ronchi, who smashed 89 in just 49 balls, with three sixes and 15 fours, for the home side.

On the smallish ground, Panesar's second and third overs went for 16 and 11 runs respectively, and included three sixes.

Ronchi lofted the finger spinner for another six in his fourth over, but Panesar had the last laugh when he slipped in a quicker ball and had the batsman neatly stumped by wicketkeeper Chris Read, another Test aspirant.

Panesar finished his first spell with 2-51 from seven overs, eventually claiming 2-63 from 10 overs.

Former Test star Alec Stewart, who captained the England and Wales side, said Panesar was pleased with the outing.

"He was happy with how the ball came out," Stewart said. "The wicket didn't offer anything for him.

"He got hit for some big sixes, but a couple of times he did the batters, they mishit them and they went for six."

Stewart added his voice to the chorus of calls for Panesar's promotion for the Perth Test.

"You have to take 20 wickets," he said. "He is not the be all and end all but he is a special bowler."

There was little joy for fast bowlers Sajid Mahmood and Liam Plunkett, the pair vying to replace the struggling James Anderson in the Test side.

Neither claimed a wicket and the latter had to leave the field with a hand injury late in the match.

Read missed a golden chance to stake his claim for a Test recall when he failed to score.

Considered a superior wicketkeeper to English incumbent Geraint Jones but overlooked for the first two Tests because of the latter's superior batting, Read came to the crease at No.3.

It was an ideal opportunity for Read to spend some valuable time in the middle and increase the pressure on Jones, who did not fire with the bat in the opening two Ashes Tests.

However, Read lasted just five balls in his first innings of the tour before being dismissed for a duck by fringe WA all-rounder Peter Worthington.

One highlight for the visiting side was the effort of Stewart, who top scored with 69 (from 69 balls) in his first game for more than three years, while promising young batsman Ravi Bopara made 56.

WA batsman Adam Voges celebrated his shock call-up to the Australian squad with an impressive 71 in the run chase.

Former England skipper Michael Vaughan was expected to play, but will instead turn out against WA on Saturday and Sunday.

Brief Scores:

ECB Boatd Chairman's XI 259 for 8 in 50 overs (Alec Stewart 69, Ravinder Bopara 53, Adam Hollioake 38 n o, Ed Joyce 36; Matthews 3 for 38, Worthington 2 for 21) lost to CA Chairman's XI 260 for 3 in 40.1 overs ( L Ronchi 89, Adam Voges 71, M North 58 n o; Panesar 2 for 63)


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