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Harris helps Australia A to tense win

Ryan Harris claimed two key wickets with successive balls as Australia A completed a 24-run victory over Gloucestershire in a three-day tour match of fluctuating fortunes at Bristol.

The hosts began the final day on 162 for three and looking well placed to score the remaining 159 to win. But experienced seamer Harris sent back countryman Dan Christian for 46 and pinned Benny Howell lbw for a golden duck to make it 169 for five.

From then on the tourists looked the more likely winners in overcast conditions and, despite an encouraging sixth-wicket stand between Gareth Roderick and Will Gidman, were bowled out for 296, James Fuller contributing a brisk 38 near the end.

Harris returned 3-56, Jackson Bird 3-53 and Chadd Sayers 3-68 for match figures of 8-92.

Gloucestershire, who had looked out of the game when trailing by 209 on first innings, would have been dismayed by heavy cloud cover at the start of play and continued their second innings in indifferent light.

Harris' two quick strikes were major setbacks, Christian having blasted six fours and three sixes in his 62-ball knock while Howell top-scored in Gloucestershire's first innings.

Roderick and Gidman revived home hopes by playing positively in their partnership of 42 before the latter was bowled off stump by a full ball from Bird with the total on 211.

Without addition, Roderick fell to a spectacular catch by Fawad Ahmed at mid-on, one-handed above his head, to give left-arm spinner Ashton Agar a wicket in his first over.

Fuller held up the tourists with some aggressive strokeplay, adding 48 in 11 overs with Cameron Herring - who was then squared up by Bird, in the midst of a lively spell from the Pavilion End, and caught at third slip by Jordan Silk for nine.

Fuller had faced 39 balls, hitting six fours and a six, when his enterprising innings was brought to an end by a sharp catch at second slip from Steve Smith, giving Harris a third wicket.

An entertaining game, which will be best remembered for Nic Maddinson's spectacular 181 in Australia A's first innings, ended when last man Liam Norwell was caught behind off Sayers for 16, having added 36 for the final wicket with Tom Smith.

The pair almost extended the game beyond the lunch interval, which was put back half an hour because nine wickets were down.

Ahmed failed to take a wicket despite sending down 22 overs in the second innings; his match figures of 1-100 did little to advance his claims for an Ashes place.

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