SYDNEY (Reuters) - England were held to a draw by a Cricket Australia XI in their final tour match ahead of the Ashes after they struggled to break a fourth-wicket partnership of 263 on a lifeless Townsville pitch on Saturday.
Jason Sangha, 18, became the second-youngest batsman after Sachin Tendulkar to score a first-class hundred against England on his way to 133, while his captain Matt Short finished the day unbeaten on 134.
The tourists would have wanted to take the seven wickets they needed to wrap up a victory in the four-day match fairly quickly but coach Trevor Bayliss said a day labouring in the field was also good practice.
“I think over the three games we’ve got everything we wanted to get out of these matches,” he told reporters in Queensland after England’s third tour match.
“Today wasn’t a perfect game of cricket for us but we spent a bit of time out in the dirt and to be realistic, over a five test series, we’ll probably have another one or two of those days.”
Australians would have been encouraged that a bowling attack featuring Stuart Broad, Chris Woakes and Moeen Ali managed to take just one wicket at a cost of 220 runs on Saturday.
“You’re always disappointed when you don’t take 10 for 90 but the wicket was very flat,” Bayliss added. “You play cricket long enough and those days are going to happen. But the guys stuck at it and that’s all you can ask.”
Bayliss said he was “pretty” certain in his own mind what team he wanted to put out on the first morning of the first test in Brisbane on Thursday and said everyone in the squad was fit.
Bayliss was also taking nothing from the inclusion of thirtysomething wicketkeeper Tim Paine and batsman Shaun Marsh as well as uncapped opener Cameron Bancroft in the Australia team named for the first two tests.
“There’s probably one or two names in there that we weren’t expecting, but they’re good players,” he said.
“Whoever Australia pick in their XI, they’re all going to be good players, and we’re going to have to play very well to win.”
Reporting by Nick Mulvenney; Editing by John O'Brien