England Lions Tour of Australia - Men
England Lions turn the screws on Australia A
Nic Maddinson and Kurtis Patterson offer resistance but Australia A still staring down the barrel after three days of pink-ball contest
Dave Middleton at the MCG
24 February 2020, 09:12 PM AEST
It was another chastening day with the bat for the Australia A side as the England Lions tightened the noose on day three of the day-night clash at the MCG.
An unbeaten half-century from Queensland allrounder Jack Wildermuth – a late call-up for the squad after Marcus Stoinis was withdrawn with a shoulder injury – was the highlight of an underwhelming first innings that saw the side bowled out for 176 in less than 60 overs.
Having conceded a first-innings deficit of 252, the hosts suffered the indignity of being asked to follow on by the Lions.
An improved effort in the second dig saw them at least pass that first-innings total to reach stumps on day three at 5-180, with Kurtis Patterson unbeaten on 41 and Wildermuth not out on 16.
Nic Maddinson had continued his excellent run of first-class form with an entertaining and quick-fire half-century but fell on 52 from 55 balls.
Having resumed their first innings on 5-103, Josh Inglis and Wildermuth added 43 run before the Western Australia wicketkeeper became the first wicket to fall as he had his off-stump flattened by Ollie Robinson.
Michael Neser followed soon after, compounding his frustrating game so far after going wicketless in 27 first-innings overs, and Australia A lost their last four wickets for just seven runs.
There was five catches in the innings for Lions wicketkeeper James Bracey, and the three other catches were taken in the slips cordon as the Lions attack made the most of the movement offered by the pink Kookaburra.
With the final wicket falling shortly before the tea break, and the innings having lasted 59.3 overs, the Lions enforced the follow-on and reaped immediate rewards.
Usman Khawaja, who had weathered the pink-ball storm for 79 balls under lights on the second evening, fell in the first over of second innings as he was given out leg before.
Marcus Harris and Maddinson steadied the ship as the Victorians put on a 77-run partnership on their home ground.
Maddinson struck eight fours in an entertaining innings as he raced to a run-a-ball half-century to continue his prolific first-class summer.
Maddinson is averaging a whopping 92.57 in the Marsh Sheffield Shield this summer having pasted NSW for 95 and a blistering 105no last week.
He was trapped leg before for just one in the first innings as the pink ball swung under lights – having spent 140 overs in the field – but the gloaming of the third day's session proved much more fertile grounds.
Strong on the front foot, five of his boundaries came from blistering drives down the ground, and he was not afraid to take the aerial route.
England Test spinner Dom Bess was met with a punishing lofted drive and slog-sweep for a pair of boundaries in his first over.
However the attacking mindset eventually brought his downfall when Craig Overton got a ball to hold in the surface enough for Maddinson's shot to spoon to extra cover.
That sparked a mini collapse as the home side lost 3-4 in 19 balls with Test spinner Bess to the fore.
Harris was bowled by Bess after dancing down the wicket, a plan to assert some authority over the slow bowler backfiring horribly, and team captain Moises Henriques's edge was snapped up at second slip.
Inglis arrived for his second visit to the crease on day three and again looked promising as he made a start, hitting 35 to go with his earlier knock of 40, this time in a 65-run partnership with Patterson.
Australia A: Marcus Harris, Usman Khawaja, Nic Maddinson, Kurtis Patterson, Moises Henriques (c), Josh Inglis (wk), Jack Wildermuth, Michael Neser, Jackson Bird, Mark Steketee, Mitchell Swepson.
England Lions: Zak Crawley, Dominic Sibley, Keaton Jennings, Sam Northeast, Dan Lawrence, James Bracey, Tom Abell, Dominic Bess, Craig Overton, Brydon Carse, Ollie Robinson.