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Last Updated: Sunday, 21 August 2005, 18:02 GMT 19:02 UK
Tait stakes claim as Aussies fire
Tour match, Northampton, day two of two (close): Australia 374-6 dec & 226-2; Northamptonshire 169-9
Match drawn

Australia fast bowler Shaun Tait
Shaun Tait stated his case for a Test spot before Australia's batsmen enjoyed some useful practice as their two-day game against Northants ended in a draw.

Tait, a contender to replace Jason Gillespie at Trent Bridge, picked up two wickets in a hostile spell.

He also forced Tim Roberts to retire hurt with blood streaming from a cut, before later suffering a bruised leg himself after a blow below the knee.

Simon Katich returned to form with 63 and Justin Langer hit an unbeaten 86.

Damien Martyn also finished 43 not out as he and Langer enjoyed themselves in the final session after tea.

But most interest centred on Australia's bowlers with Tait and Michael Kaprovicz competing for a likely vacancy in Gillespie's place for the fourth Ashes Test starting on Thursday.

Northants' Ben Roberts drips with blood after being cut above the eye by Shaun Tait
Brett Lee enquires after Ben Roberts after he is hit by a short ball from Shaun Tait
Tait responded with a dose of hostility that saw Roberts forced to retire hurt with a cut that required five stitches.

Tait, whose two wickets came for 52 runs off 14.1 overs, said afterwards: "I felt pretty good. It would be everything for me to play for my country, just like it would be for any young cricketer.

"One thing I do know is that I am ready for that sort of cricket.

"If the opportunity comes up I am definitely there to bowl well."

Glenn McGrath (3-24) also forced Ben Phillips off temporarily after a short ball hit him between the eyes.

But Phillips resumed after treatment and finished unbeaten on 37 in Northants' total of 169-9, the only batsman to pass 20.

One thunderous drive struck Tait below the left knee in his follow through, and he was forced off for some ice treatment.

Kasprovicz, meanwhile, could only manage one wicket while Brett Lee (2-30) kept his hand in.

Opting for further batting practice, Australia sent Katich, with just 49 runs in the last two Ashes Tests, out to open with Brad Hodge.

Katich struck 63 from 103 balls while Hodge was run out for 25 as Australia reached 122-2 by tea.

Langer and Martyn then put on another 104 together in the final session as Australia concluded their preparations for Trent Bridge in good heart.





Links to more Australia stories


 

WATCH AND LISTEN
Interview: Australian fast-bowler Shaun Tait


Interview: Australian opener Justin Langer



SEE ALSO
Century boosts Hayden Ashes hopes
20 Aug 05 |  Australia
Aussie pair hit timely centuries
20 Aug 05 |  Australia


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