Tim Paine got among the runs at Canterbury.
Tim Paine got among the runs at Canterbury.

Aussies on course for huge Ashes boost

Australia XI have reached 6-233 to give themselves a 353-run lead and move to the cusp of victory going into the final day of their match with the England Lions.

Opener Marcus Harris smashed a half-century, while Kurtis Patterson (38) and captain Tim Paine (38) had also made important contributions by stumps at Canterbury.

"We're in a pretty good position, I assume we'll probably bat for a couple overs in the morning or declare overnight, but the wicket seems to have enough there for us and if they go for the runs it will probably put us in a good position to try and win the game," Harris said.

He said he was disappointed not to make more runs but spending time in the middle was more important, especially to keep consistency before the Ashes.

"Disappointing to get out with 50-odd on the board, but good to spend a couple hours in the middle, just to face a fair few balls in the English conditions. It's something a bit different," Harris said.

"I'm not sure Test cricket is too similar to that but just to spend some time in the middle is great."

Earlier, Jackson Bird (3-51), Chris Tremain (4-70) and Jon Holland (2-56) helped keep England to a low total with Sam Curran (50) the only notable contributor with the bat.

 

Jackson Bird is making an excellent case for Ashes inclusion.
Jackson Bird is making an excellent case for Ashes inclusion.

Harris opened Australia's second innings with a measured 50 from 115 balls, combining for a 76-run stand on the second wicket with Kurtis Patterson (38) after fellow opener Joe Burns was caught by England's Sam Hain off Jamie Porter.

Spinner Jack Leach then managed to dismiss both men with Patterson caught at slip and Harris caught at cover before Ashes hopeful Travis Head was picked out in the gully off Lewis Gregory (1-30) for just 12 to push Australia XI from 1-106 at 4-121.

After tea Mitchell Marsh stepped into combine with Paine for 53 in 14 overs to stabilise the visitors' afternoon session.

Eventually Marsh (26) was lbw to Ollie Robinson, while Paine was caught and bowled by Leach, who finished with 3-91.

 

Oliver Robinson celebrates taking the wicket of Mitchell Marsh.
Oliver Robinson celebrates taking the wicket of Mitchell Marsh.

Matthew Wade had to retire hurt after being struck on the arm by a Gregory delivery.

At stumps, Michael Neser was 20 not out and Tremain was unbeaten on nine.

Cricket Australia chief medical officer John Orchard said Wade's precautionary X-ray came back clear, but he was likely suffering from a bruised nerve.

"Matthew will be reassessed in the morning but it's unlikely he'll bat again in this innings. However, we're very hopeful he'll recover in good time for the Australia-Australia A game next week," Orchard said.

News Corp Australia


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