Tim Bresnan helped to defend 18 runs from the last six overs as the England Performance Programme played out an exciting draw with Queensland Second XI at Brisbane’s Allan Border Field.
Chasing an improbable 422 to win, the hosts got mighty close thanks in part to 100 from opening batsman Joe Burns. They had three wickets left going into the closing half-dozen sets of six, but came up eight runs short.
Bresnan, although wicketless in the second innings, used his experience to be the EPP’s most economical bowler as his 16 overs cost just 41 and included five maidens.
That return meant the seam-bowling all-rounder’s first game since suffering a stress fracture of the lower back in August was a success. Bresnan, who hit 57 not out and took 4-31 in the first innings, will now rejoin the Ashes squad in the hope of playing in next week’s second Test at Adelaide.
The EPP this morning topped up their second innings from 156 for five overnight to 201 for seven declared in eight overs, Ben Foakes moving from 52 to 65 and Sam Robson – a centurion earlier in the match – from 35 to 41.
Moeen Ali, having smashed five fours in an unbeaten 11-ball 25 today, then returned 5-125 with his off-spin as Queensland posted 414 for seven.
Burns and Dom Michael started the chase with a fifty partnership before Tymal Mills had Michael caught behind for 25.
Alex Kemp and Burns went even better, adding 137 for the second wicket in 30 overs until Moeen bowled Kemp for 65.
Burns, who carried his bat for 97 in the first innings, went to three figures but was run out by the influential Moeen.
Another half-century alliance came from captain Jason Floros and Corey Barsby, who fell to Moeen for a 36-ball 34 and 59 respectively. Chris Sabburg had 46 when he was bowled by Moeen, just as Floros had been.
Moeen completed his five-for before Simon Milenko’s unbeaten 26 and 36 not out from 26 deliveries by Mark Steketee took Queensland to the brink of victory, only for Bresnan to deliver a tight last over.
Varun Chopra, captain in this game of the EPP who now fly to Perth for more training and another match, said: “It was an interesting day’s play.
“I think we at times bowled very well. I think we let a few of the bowlers down in the field (with) a few dropped chances, which would have swung the game our way.
“I think there’s been some good individual performances, with Sam Robson with the bat and Moeen Ali with the bat and the ball today.
“And obviously Tim Bresnan showing some really good signs hopefully ahead of his comeback into Test cricket. He looks in good form.
“It’s been a good three days for us in terms of a workout. It got a bit close there at the end. It could have gone either way. But overall it was a worthwhile three days.”