Australia A Tour of England - Men's
Neser finds bite but Australian XI held to draw
Michael Neser struck form to rock the England Lions' top order but the home side held on to draw their tour match
Sam Ferris in Canterbury
18 July 2019, 08:30 AM AEST
The early bragging rights for the Ashes were shared in Canterbury as the Australian XI and England Lions played out a competitive draw.
Prior to the four-day clash both camps spoke about how they wanted to get one over their rivals ahead of the men's Ashes but it wasn't to be as Test allrounder Sam Curran and former Australia Under-19s batsman Sam Hain batted out the final session to seal the draw.
Set 383 to win, the Lions finished on 5-267, with Curran 56 not out, to go with his first-innings 50 and 6-95, and Hain unbeaten on 53 from 135 balls.
Tim Paine's charges threw everything at their opponents, including a few heated words from fast bowler Chris Tremain, but the hosts proved resilient.
The two camps now head in different directions – England's attention turns towards a training camp for their extended squad and next week's Test against Ireland while the Aussies head west to Southampton to finalise their Ashes preparation with a hotly-anticipated intra-squad match.
The Australians' warm-up prior to play provided two clues as to how the day would start.
The sight of overnight batsmen Michael Neser and Tremain batting in the nets indicated the visitors would bat on, and Matthew Wade walking laps of the St Lawrence Ground while his teammates prepared meant he would not take part on day four having retired hurt on Tuesday evening after being struck on the elbow by a bouncer.
Neser (32) and Tremain (18 not out) added the bulk of the extra 29 runs that were added in just 2.5 overs as left-arm spinner Jack Leach picked up two wickets to finish with 5-109 before Paine declared.
Hopes of an early breakthrough for the Australians were dashed by Lions openers Zak Crawley and Dom Sibley, who hit 11 boundaries between them to the see the hosts safely to lunch at 0-78 from 25 overs.
Whatever the tourists had for lunch worked a treat as Neser (3-38) and Paine combined to remove the Lions top order in three consecutive overs.
Neser had local lad Crawley caught behind for 43 then his opening partner Sibley an over later for 30 before No.3 Ben Foakes was his third victim caught behind, out for seven.
Paine had his fourth catch of the afternoon session when Bird (1-65) – who regularly beat the bat without luck – found the edge of James Bracey's bat.
Bracey batted four times against the touring Australians for scores of 83, 71, 37 and 31 and looked up the challenge against an international-calibre attack.
Mitch Marsh (1-15) capped off a superb session with the wicket of Sam Northeast, bowled for 34 with his third delivery, to lead his side off needing five wickets in the final session to win.
But up to the task were Hain and Curran, who had received the news earlier in the day he had been picked in England's 13-player squad for England's maiden Test against Ireland next week at Lord's.
Together they thwarted the twin spin of Jon Holland (0-81) and Travis Head (0-25) for half the session before Curran skied the South Australian off-spinner in the 79th over out to Tremain at deep long-on who dropped the chance.
Tremain's frustrations boiled over when he had the second new ball three overs later, first conceding four overthrows from a shy at the striker's stumps and then shared a few frustrated words with Hain.
Both batters survived the new-ball threat, posted their half-centuries and secured the draw as both teams exchanged handshakes for an early finish.
The Australians now head to Southampton for next Thursday's intra-squad showdown after which the Ashes squad will be selected.
Australia XI: Joe Burns, Marcus Harris, Kurtis Patterson, Travis Head, Matthew Wade, Mitchell Marsh, Tim Paine (c & wk), Michael Neser, Chris Tremain, Jackson Bird, Jon Holland.
England Lions: Zac Crawley, Dom Sibley, Sam Hain, Sam Northeast, James Bracey, Ben Foakes (wk), Sam Curran, Lewis Gregory (c), Olli Robinson, Jack Leach, Jamie Porter.
Australia A tour of the UK
Get live scores and all the latest news from Australia A's tour of the UK on cricket.com.au and the CA Live app
Australia A one-day squad: Travis Head (c), Matthew Wade, Will Pucovski, Peter Handscomb, Mitch Marsh (vc), D'Arcy Short, Kurtis Patterson, Ashton Agar, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Josh Hazlewood (vc), Sean Abbott, Andrew Tye
Australia A four-day squad: Tim Paine (c), Marcus Harris, Kurtis Patterson, Will Pucovski, Travis Head (vc), Peter Handscomb, Matthew Wade, Mitch Marsh, Michael Neser, Jon Holland, James Pattinson, Jackson Bird, Josh Hazlewood (vc), Chris Tremain
July 13-16: Australian XI v England Lions, Canterbury
July 23-26: Australia v Australia A, Hampshire