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Page last updated at 17:34 GMT, Saturday, 4 July 2009 18:34 UK

Australia draw with England Lions

Tour match, Worcester:
England Lions 352 &162-4 drew with Australia 358 & 438-4
Match scorecard

Australia pacemen Mitchell Johnson (left) and Brett Lee
Johnson (left) and Lee look set to lead the Australia attack at Cardiff

Australia's four-day warm-up match ahead of the first Ashes petered out into a draw against the England Lions.

The tourists went into the final day on 276-4 in their second innings, 282 runs ahead, and declared on 438-4 as Marcus North reached 191 not out.

England Lions needed an improbable 445 to win and the hosts were on 162-4 when the captains shook hands on a draw.

The result was prompted by umpire Jeff Evans collapsing after tea in the heat, although he walked off at the end.

Opener Joe Denly made 36 for the Lions, but although skipper Ian Bell avoided bagging a pair, he and the other batsmen will be disappointed that none of them managed to pass 30 in the second innings while the England selectors were at New Road to watch proceedings.

Australia will now travel to Cardiff to prepare for the first Ashes Test, which starts on Wednesday and captain Ricky Ponting facing several selection posers.


His main dilemma surrounds off-spinner Nathan Hauritz - the only specialist slow bowler in the Aussie squad.

The pitch at Cardiff is expected to take spin but Hauritz has looked out of sorts in Australia's two warm-up games and took just one wicket in 30 overs against the England Lions at a cost of 102 runs.

Paceman Brett Lee bowled himself firmly into contention as he added the second-innings scalp of Vikram Solanki to his six first-innings wickets.

Lee was getting some reverse swing and appears to have cemented his place in the pace attack alongside left-armer Mitchell Johnson.

Stuart Clark was typically economical and took two wickets in the match, but fellow seamers Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus will be pushing him for a place.

Siddle, in particular, is the most likely to come in and could even play if Australia decide for a four-man seam attack and drop Hauritz.

In terms of the batting, opener Phil Hughes showed he is susceptible to the short ball and, along with Ponting, goes into the first Test lacking runs.

We can travel down to Cardiff happy with what we have done and the intensity automatically steps up when you play Test cricket

Australia captain Ricky Ponting

"We got a lot out of this game - almost everyone except me - and it was really good preparation for us going into the Cardiff game," said Ponting.

"This wicket will be similar to the one we have to confront down there, so we couldn't have asked for much more as far as our preparation goes.

"Brett Lee really stood up for us in the first innings. Once the ball started to swing, we know he is as good as anyone in the world in terms of exploiting those conditions.

"Marcus North batted well in the second innings, and Mike Hussey looks terrific in both knocks, while Michael Clarke got some quality time in the middle on Friday.

"We have topped things up really well. I've been really happy with the way things have gone for the past month.

Umpire Jeff Evans (centre) is helped off the field
Umpire Evans (centre) was able to walk off the field after collapsing

"We went out of the World Twenty20 really early and have had a long run-in to the first Test. It seems like an eternity, but our training has been spot-on.

"We can travel down to Cardiff happy with what we have done and the intensity automatically steps up when you play Test cricket."

Among the Lions, Denly and Stephen Moore will look back with pride on their 172-run opening stand in the first innings, while Steven Davies and Adil Rashid also hit half centuries.

But although paceman Steve Harmison returned match figures of 6-135, England's other seamers toiled without success in front of the selectors in the second innings as North piled on the runs.

Graham Onions and Tim Bresnan, who both made their Test debuts against the West Indies earlier this summer, had captured three scalps apiece in the first innings, but Sajid Mahmood had a game to forget with match figures of 0-130 from 35 overs.

Despite Harmison's own pessimism about his chances of playing at Cardiff, Bell said: "The England selectors would have had a tough meeting today with the way Steve has bowled in this game.

"He and Graham Onions were fantastic with the new ball - both have shown they would justify a place in the team.

"It was a very good workout for our young players, and the opening batsmen played fantastically well considering the amount of experience Australia have got."

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see also
Harmison misses out on Test squad
05 Jul 09 |  England
Ashes warm-up photos
04 Jul 09 |  England
England draw Bears practice match
03 Jul 09 |  England
North ton puts Australia on top
03 Jul 09 |  Australia
Lee shines but Australia struggle
02 Jul 09 |  Australia
Hussey ton helps Aussies recover
01 Jul 09 |  Australia
Harmison detects Aussie weakness
02 Jul 09 |  England
Clarke hardened by 2005 struggle
01 Jul 09 |  Australia
Siddle benefits from coach Cooley
29 Jun 09 |  Australia
Hopkinson ton frustrates Aussies
27 Jun 09 |  Australia
England omit Vaughan and Harmison
22 Jun 09 |  England
Australia in England 2009
20 Sep 09 |  England

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