Australia tour of England
Aussies open UK tour with a victory
Marcus Stoinis hits ton and Aussie bowlers claw their way back to beat Sussex by 57 runs
Dave Middleton at The County Ground, Hove
8 June 2018, 11:00 AM AEST
Australia took the first steps into a new era with a tightly fought 57-run win against Sussex on the back of a brilliant Marcus Stoinis century and Ashton Agar's three wickets.
It was a festive atmosphere at Hove helped by some early fireworks in the run chase that kept the home side in the hunt deep into the match.
Stoinis' century powered Australia to 9-277 and the bowlers impressed to claw their way back into the match after taking early stick with Sussex bowled out for 220.
The Australians had seemed on track for a mammoth score early, as early grey skies cleared and locals flocked to the balconies and sun terraces of the apartments that circle this county venue.
Marcus Stoinis anchored Australia's 9-277 with a brilliant 110 from No.3, and Aaron Finch added 78 as opener but a worrying middle-order collapse of 4-13 in 31 balls gives Langer plenty to ponder.
So too, the fielding, which saw four catches put down. While the diving chance grassed by Glenn Maxwell would have been an all-time classic had it stuck, the same cannot be said for the simple chances fluffed by D'Arcy Short – twice – and Andrew Tye.
Short dropped Sussex opener Phil Salt either side of an early run out. The 21-year-old cashed in on his chance, racing to a 33-ball fifty, and reached the mark with successive sixes off Ashton Agar.
Salt's seven fours and four sixes in a 49-ball 62 had Hove rocking, and imbued with courage they engaged with the Australians fielding on the ropes.
Circling the boundary on 12th man duties, Nathan Lyon was asked if he had sandpaper in his pockets, to which the off-spinner replied, "Nah mate, just the Ashes".
Players leaned over the fence to take selfies and sign autograph books between deliveries, and the Australians spent an extended time after the match doing the same.
Into the last 10 overs a chorus emanated from the bar: "If you like sandpaper, clap your hands". Nothing the Australians didn't expect, but a mere taste of what awaits at the internationals.
Australia's inexperienced pace attack started with maidens from Michael Neser and Kane Richardson and with the reprieved Salt making hay the pressure was on.
The South Australian was expensive early but hit back to bowl Salt with a yorker.
The Australian bowlers clawed their way back, with Agar's spin doing the damage. He picked up 3-64 in his 10 overs, including the key scalp of Laurie Evans whose half-century had threatened to take the game away from the Australians.
Agar used a slower delivery to outfox Harry Finch for a caught-and-bowled, trapped Ben Brown in front when he missed a sweep shot, and flighted one brilliantly to draw Evans forward and spin it past his blade for Paine to whisk the bails off.
Stoinis chimed in with a wicket, bowling Michael Burgess who played on, and Neser had his first scalp in Australian colours when Paine took a catch diving to his right.
Stoinis was then involved again to run out Chris Jordan and Andrew Tye got Jofra Archer to chop on before Jhye Richardson claimed the final wicket.
Stoinis had been elevated to No.3 for this tour-opening List A clash, coming in with a solid platform to work from after Aaron Finch and D'Arcy Short had added 74.
Short opened the tour with a crisp drive to the long-off fence off Hobart Hurricanes teammate Jofra Archer, while Finch cashed in on some wayward bowling from England international Chris Jordan, smashing two boundaries in his first two balls.
The pair had flown along in the first 10 overs against pace but the introduction of spin reaped immediate reward for Sussex, with Short on the back foot and pinned in front by Danny Briggs (2-42) to be lbw for 21.
Stoinis was watchful early before showing his blistering power, smashing a huge straight six, the first of four maximums he launched into the 6,000-strong sell-out crowd.
He put on a 93-run stand with Finch until the opener's dismissal sparked a mini-collapse. From a position of strength at 1-167 the Australians lost 4-13 in 31 deliveries to slip to 5-180.
Finch got a thin edge pulling Archer to be caught behind for a well-made 78, before Glenn Maxwell (1) spooned a simple catch to mid-off off Luke Wells' left-arm spinners. Travis Head (2) was lbw to Briggs and Tim Paine offered a return catch to Wells (2-44).
Stoinis brought up his century, the third List A ton of this career, with a late-cut, the near run-a-ball knock containing eight fours to go with the four sixes.
Agar had impressed with 21 before he was unluckily run out backing up, and Michael Neser (2) in his first outing in Australian gold edged Jordan (1-64) behind.
Stoinis eventually fell for 110, miscuing a low full toss in the 47th over to give Archer a second, but was dirty with himself for failing to see the innings out.
Jhye Richardson (11) miscued a pull shot for Archer's third, and Andrew Tye pushed the score to 277 with a monstrous six whipped over square leg and into the concourse.
Qantas tours of England and Zimbabwe
ODI squad: Tim Paine (c), Aaron Finch (vc), Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Travis Head, Nathan Lyon, Glenn Maxwell, Shaun Marsh, Michael Neser, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, D’Arcy Short, Billy Stanlake, Marcus Stoinis, Andrew Tye
T20 squad: Aaron Finch (c), Alex Carey (vc), Ashton Agar, Travis Head, Nic Maddinson, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, D’Arcy Short, Billy Stanlake, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Swepson, Andrew Tye, Jack Wildermuth
Qantas Tour of England
June 7: Warm-up v Sussex, Hove (D/N)
June 9: Warm-up v Middlesex, Lord's
June 13: First ODI, The Oval (D/N)
June 16: Second ODI, Cardiff
June 19: Third ODI, Trent Bridge (D/N)
June 21: Fourth ODI, Durham (D/N)
June 24: Fifth ODI, Old Trafford
June 27: Only T20, Edgbaston (D/N)
Qantas T20I tri-series Tour of Zimbabwe
Sunday, July 1: Zimbabwe vs Pakistan
Monday, July 2: Pakistan vs Australia
Tuesday, July 3: Australia vs Zimbabwe
Wednesday, July 4: Zimbabwe vs Pakistan
Thursday, July 5: Pakistan vs Australia
Friday, July 6: Australia vs Zimbabwe
Sunday, July 8: Final