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Consistent Compton delivers again

Nick Compton impressed in his guest appearance for Worcestershire with a dogged 79 on day two of Australia's tour match at New Road.

England selector James Whitaker was present as the Somerset batsman made his second half-century against the tourists in a week following his 81 at Taunton.

Compton faced 181 balls and scored 10 boundaries today and must now wait to see if he has done enough to win a place in the first Investec Test, which starts a week today.

Whitaker will report back on a resolute performance from the 30-year-old, though one where he spent lengthy periods searching for his timing.

A mid-innings surge saw him reach 50 in 94 balls but he scored slowly thereafter and was caught at midwicket via an innocuous short ball from Jackson Bird.

But England's expectations - to go away and score runs - have been met and they will soon deliver their verdict.

Compton's knock contributed to a Worcestershire score of 246 for seven, 150 short of Australia's 396 for four declared.

Most of the Australia attack did little to advance their own hopes of a Test place but Bird came to life in the evening session and finished with 4-38.

The day started with a display of care-free hitting from Steven Smith. He scored 41 of Australia's 56 runs in an hour's play that set up the declaration.

There were eight fours and a six from Smith, as he became the fifth member of the top five to register a fifty. Had Michael Clarke not waved his side in, he may well have turned his 68 not out into a century.

Compton and Matthew Pardoe took the hosts to 36 without loss at lunch, the England international off the mark with a crisp four off Bird and later guiding Ashton Agar to the third man boundary with a delicate cut.

He struggled to time the ball so well in the early part of the afternoon session, not quite middling his drives and also surviving two lbw appeals in quick succession from Bird in the 19th over.

His reward for sticking at it came with a pair of flowing strokes through cover off the same bowler, taking his boundary count to six.

An outside edge off Agar evaded Clarke at slip and Compton’s half-century arrived when he turned the left-arm spin of Agar off his pads for three.

The applause that followed was generous for a player who will return to Somerset colours at the end of the week.

Australia did pick up two wickets in the session, Pardoe caught in the cordon for 16 as all-rounder James Faulkner made the breakthrough.

Moeen Ali had scored 10 when he became Agar's first wicket for Australia. Clarke claimed a low catch and there was a brief discussion between the umpires before the batsman was sent on his way as Worcestershire moved to 155 for two at tea.

The evening session belonged to Bird, who had been quiet.

Compton was being outscored by captain Daryl Mitchell, who contributed an entertaining fifty at a run a ball, and was settling for occasional singles when he mis-hit a short delivery from Bird straight to Shane Watson at midwicket.

Alexei Kervezee fell lbw in the same over and Bird made it three in eight balls when he had Tom Fell caught at slip.

Bird also ended Mitchell's fun on 65, Brad Haddin taking a smart catch down the leg side, as he made his bid for a Test spot.

Agar then snared Ben Cox for 25 before Gareth Andrew reached stumps on 24 alongside Jack Shantry on six.

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