A luckless England have received a timely confidence boost with a comprehensive 192-run victory over the Cricket Australia XI in Adelaide on Saturday (November 11).
After an inspired performance under lights with the pink ball by paceman Chris Woakes on day three, England swiftly knocked over the inexperienced CA XI for a measly 75 in under 41 overs. Woakes starred with 4 for 17, while veteran James Anderson and Craig Overton claimed three wickets apiece.
Needing just three wickets to wrap up the win, Overton claimed the scalp of Matt Short in the first over and Anderson dismissed a stubborn Gurinder Sandhu (17 from 61 balls) shortly after lbw. The CA XI batsmen were anchored to the crease through Anderson and Overton’s disciplined bowling. They did not score in the opening 25 minutes and could only muster five runs in seven overs before being bowled out.
The decisive victory was much-needed for England, whose tour was spiralling through indifferent early performances and a litany of injuries. The tourists, who arrived in Australia as major Ashes underdogs, endured a nightmare start to their tour and the injury scourge continued in Adelaide with impressive seamer Jake Ball breaking down on day two after just four overs.
Scans confirmed Ball suffered ligament strain in his ankle and he appears in doubt for the first Test. Sussex seamer George Garton has been added to their squad, joining Tom Curran who replaced an injured Steven Finn.
After a rusty opening against the Western Australia XI in Perth last weekend, England were far better in Adelaide albeit against a youthful CA XI. The tourists will be encouraged by their bowlers, who performed admirably under the adversity. England will be particularly buoyed by the performance of Woakes, whose spell in the final session on day three was a game-changer.
Anderson, the team’s spearhead, continued his terrific start to the tour and appears determined to overturn his suspect Test record in Australia. Perhaps the most encouraging performance came from Overton, who is set to play in the first Test after bowling tightly in bowling innings.
Conversely, England will be concerned about their patchy batting after posting middling scores in both innings. A second innings middle-order collapse raised some eyebrows with England having to contend with Australia’s star-studded attack during the Ashes.
Mark Stoneman and James Vince have looked the goods in the top-order but star opener Alastair Cook has struggled although he spent some much-needed time in the middle in the second innings before falling for 32.
The four-day match was vital practice for England ahead of the Ashes series and, in particular, the historic day-night Test next month at the Adelaide Oval. Results are almost trivial at this point, as a desperately unlucky England will be hoping to get through unscathed ahead of the Ashes starting on November 23.
England will play their final warm-up match ahead of the first Test against a CA XI in Townsville starting Wednesday (November 15).