Bad light forced play to be abandoned on day two in Northampton between Australia and the England Lions.
Australia reached 6-227 before the umpires called time, and with the light worsening and the prospect of rain immanent the match ended in a draw.
Shane Watson top-scored coming in at number four, his 45 punctuated with some brutal hitting against the spin of Simon Kerrigan.
Watson and David Warner looked the most fluent of the tourists’ batsmen, Warner’s 35 coming from 46 balls and included five boundaries.
At 6-160 there was a brief murmur that Australia could potentially lose the encounter.
That talk would be quashed by Matthew Wade (38) and James Faulkner (29), the pair combining for 67 to regain the ascendency and get the chase back on track.
Rain was predicted to interrupt play throughout the day but it never came, the low cloud cover enough to finish the match off at 5.30pm local time.
The prime batting candidates for the fifth Test failed to take their opportunity – only Phil Hughes made it past 20, and even his 30 wasn’t as controlled or destructive as what he is capable of.
Steve Smith (18), Ed Cowan (17) and Usman Khawaja (4) missed out on a good deck against a solid opponent, but come Test time there’s little doubt their intensity and focus will shift another level.
Australia’s attention now turns to The Oval where the Ashes were born all those years ago in 1882.
Watson didn’t roll the arm over in this match, but he did come off a few strides in warm-up and says he’ll be ready to go.
Six players from the Durham Test: Michael Clarke, Chris Rogers, Peter Siddle, Ryan Harris, Brad Haddin and Jackson Bird were rested for this tour match, and if form rings true only Bird isn’t guaranteed a spot in the starting XI.
Australia arrive in London on Saturday night before their preparations begin for the fifth and final Ashes Test starting Wednesday.
The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia
First Posted 18 August, 2013 4:00AM AEDT