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The Electronic Telegraph Warm-up Match: Somerset v Australia
Peter Deeley - 12 May 1999

Settled Australia ride out storm

Australia (243-5) bt Somerset (208) by 32 runs (D/L method)

The skirmishing is over: let battle commence. But the Australians, now looking towards their opening clash with the World Cup's 'tartan tots' at Worcester on Sunday, always seem to have had their minds made up about the composition of the side.

They have won two of their warm-up games by some margin, seen rain ruin the other and have made only one change - an enforced one in the opener against Glamorgan when Damien Martyn came in for Darren Lehmann, who had a back spasm.

There seems little likelihood, barring a last-minute accident, of second thoughts by their selectors which means Martyn, Tom Moody, Paul Reiffel and Brendon Julian will continue to be relegated to the role of drinks waiters.

That these players have not even had a chance to prove their worth may seem a tad hard, but if single-mindedness is any criterion of success in this competition, then Australia have that quality in abundance.

Somerset gave them a decent run for their money but there are precious few signs of any real weaknesses. Ricky Ponting is not yet fully firing, scoring only 14 runs in two outings, which must be of slight concern to the selectors since No 3 is such a pivotal position in these games.

Adam Gilchrist makes the odd mistake behind the stumps - yesterday spilling one chance which he should have left to slip - though he compensates with his powerful attacking as an opening bat and Adam Dale has not yet fully found his form.

But these are minor cavils. In the warm-ups, Shane Warne with five wickets and Damien Fleming with six have always dominated and we have yet to see if Glenn McGrath - with only one wicket - will continue to be used as first change. Australian captain Steve Waugh says it is not impossible, citing the examples in other teams of such as Curtly Ambrose and Allan Donald.

Team spirit is a more significant measure of worth and Australia showed they could ride a minor storm in the field and still come up smelling of roses (or pansies as they are being cheekily called after the bilious yellow of their uniforms).

Such a testing moment came early in the Somerset innings after the home side made a dreadful start. Tasmanian Jamie Cox is their captain this summer and understandably wanted to demonstrate his qualities to his fellow Australians.

Unhappily, Cox was out second ball for nought, getting an inside edge off Fleming which Gilchrist did well to hold, diving to his left.

Then came 12 overs of rumbustious entertainment as Piran Holloway and Michael Burns carved the pride of Australia's bowling to all corners. Dale went for 25 off three overs, McGrath's first cost 12 and when he changed ends Burns hit him for another brace of boundaries off successive balls.

Warne spoiled the spectators' fun by getting Burns leg before after he had hit 38 off 29 balls, then had Holloway caught low at slip and after that hiatus Australia were always in control.

Andrew Caddick, ignored by England's selectors, bowled straight through his 10 overs and often troubled the batsmen with his pace and movement, finishing with two for 36.

Once they had seen Caddick off, Australia's batting was solid if not spectacular. The Waugh twins got valuable time in the middle, both scoring 40s. Then Michael Bevan hit an unbeaten 68 off 85 balls, sharing in an unbroken sixth-wicket partnership of 81 in 13 overs with former Somerset player Shane Lee.

Source: The Electronic Telegraph
Editorial comments can be sent to The Electronic Telegraph at et@telegraph.co.uk