Sunday, March 11, 2007

Australia beat England in warmup game

Australia captain Ricky Ponting said the world champions had achieved all they wanted to do in beating England by five wickets in the old rivals' final WorldCup warm-up match here Friday.Australia ended a three-match losing streak inone-dayers against England in convincing style by bowling England out for 197and then knocking off the winning runs with more than nine overs to spare.
"Itwas a good solid hit-out for the team," Ponting told reporters. "I said theother day I wanted the guys to approach these games as proper one-dayinternational games and play them with that sort of intensity."
Brad Hogg tooktwo key wickets to get rid of England captain Michael Vaughan (62) and Ian Bell(57) after the duo had put on 116 for the second wicket.
That ended a barren spell of six wicketless matches for the left-arm wrist spinner. But Pontingsaid he saw signs of the former postman returning to form in Australia's 106-runopening warm-up win against Zimbabwe on Tuesday."His last three or four oversin the first game, he started to work out what was the best pace to bowl onthese slower wickets and today (Friday) right from the start he bowled a bitquicker through the air."He used his variations very well and got two wicketswith his wrong-un. It's good to see him back to his lively self again."
Fastbowler Shaun Tait (four for 33) took wickets at both ends of the innings whileStuart Clark (three for 16) chipped in when brought on towards the finish.
Tait,who can be erratic, did concede seven wides but he also reduced England to sixfor one with a textbook inswinging yorker that had left-hander Ed Joyce plumblbw before dismissing Kevin Pietersen and capturing two late wickets as well.
"Isat down and had a bit of chat with Shaun about how he can be best used,"Ponting explained. "Today he showed everybody just how effective he can be -and it's not the first time he's done that." Australia were all but assured ofvictory after an opening stand of 140 between Adam Gilchrist, who made 72 on hisreturn from paternity leave and Shane Watson (55)."I thought Gilchrist andWatson were outstanding. They set up the game for us," Ponting said.
Vaughan,while pleased by his own form and that he suffered no discomfort from hishamstring problem, lamented England's failure to build on his stand with Bell.
"It's nice to get a few runs, spend some time in the middle and test thehamstring in a match situation," said Vaughan, whose side thrashed minnowsBermuda by 241 runs here Monday."
But at 122 for two you expect to get 250minimum. That kind of score on that kind of pitch would have been a reallycompetitive total.
"But sometimes it's good that something like this happensbefore the actual tournament starts because it gives us an indication of how weare going to have to play on these kind of wickets."

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