By George Marrable
- England took on a Cricket Australia XI in their second Ashes warm up match
- The tourists won the game by 192 runs
- Craig Overton and James Anderson both took three wickets each to bowl the hosts out for 75 in their second innings
ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA – The preparation for the Ashes is well underway now, as England took on a Cricket Australia XI in a four-day match at the Adelaide Oval.
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England ran out comfortable winners after a dominating bowling performance in the second innings, with players starting to find their form ready for the first test.
England coping without Ben Stokes
It was a huge blow to the side when it was announced Ben Stokes would not travel to Australia after an incident at a Bristol nightclub. However, both Craig Overton and Chris Woakes are stepping up to the challenge of filling the vacant all-rounder position.
Whilst Woakes is no stranger to the side, he is now competing to be the dominant all-rounder and is, so far, thriving. He took six wickets across two innings, including four as England ripped through Cricket Australia XI to bowl them out for 75. Although he is yet to reach Stokes’ standards with the bat, making 33 and 2 in his two innings, he is more than capable of filling his shoes.
Newcomer Overton also staked a claim for the position in the four-day match. He was also key in England’s second innings destruction of the hosts, taking 3-15 from 11 overs, but also failed to impress with the bat. Overton failed to make a run in two innings, but has put his name firmly in contention after a brilliant bowling performance.
England’s middle order problems still persist
Whilst England comfortably won the match, there are still questions about their middle order batting – something that has been a problem for a long time now. The first innings showed progress for England, with only Alistair Cook and Jonny Bairstow failing to pass 30.
The second innings was a different story, however, and will give Australia’s bowlers a boost heading into the series. A mini-collapse saw Joe Root, Dawid Malan, Woakes and Overton all be dismissed for very little.
It is becoming an increasingly worrying habit that England lose wickets in clumps, and England don’t have the security of Stokes to rely on if wickets tumble quickly. Although there has been positive signs, it could persist as a weakness for Australia to exploit.
Stoneman could be vital in the Ashes
A huge positive for England in the warm-up matches has been the brilliant form of Mark Stoneman. Before the squad was selected, there was question marks about his position in the side, but has now firmly cemented himself as Cook’s partner for the series.
Stoneman made 51 and 61 in his two innings, playing some beautiful strokes to get England off to a good start in the game. A strong opening partnership is going a long way to solving England’s batting problems.
The next step for him, however, is to push on these scores. Whilst he has made a very good start to the tour, he is also guilty of being dismissed cheaply, and will hope to kick on once the series begins.
The third Ashes warm up match is on Wednesday 15 November.
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