Australian club cricketers defy England’s attack

Stuart Broad finished with 0-40 in Townsville. Picture: Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images
Stuart Broad finished with 0-40 in Townsville. Picture: Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images
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England’s bowlers managed to take only one wicket on the last day as their final practice match before the opening Ashes Test finished in a draw.

The four-day game against a Cricket Australia XI team ended with the home team cruising along on 364-4 in their second innings after England’s bowlers had struggled to make any inroads on a flat pitch.

England, who made a huge total of 515 in their first innings, started the final day eyeing the possibility of a win, with the home team trailing by 144 with just seven wickets in hand. But teenager Jason Sangha scored 133 and Matt Short made 134 not out in a 263-run partnership for the home side to end any chance of a result.

Sangha and Short are both club players who have played just seven first-class matches between them but were able to defy an England attack which included test bowlers Stuart Broad, Chris Woakes and Moeen Ali.

Sangha, 18, became the second-youngest player to score a first-class century against England. The youngest was India’s Sachin Tendulkar, who was just 17 when he achieved the feat 27 years ago. Sangha was the only man out on the final day, facing 226 balls and hitting 13 fours and a six before falling with the total on 350.

Short, the Cricket Australia XI captain, was still unbeaten when stumps were drawn early with no prospect of a result.

For England, Broad finished with 0-40 from 14 overs and Woakes 0-50 from 11. Craig Overton took 0-65 from 15 overs, doing little to press his claims for a Test call-up amid concerns about the fitness of Jake Ball, who missed the match after injuring his ankle in England’s previous practice game.

Ali returned from a side strain to take 2-88 while Mason Crane took 2-97.

The first Ashes Test against Australia starts at the Gabba in Brisbane on Thursday.