Kieswetter ton rescues Lions
Craig Kieswetter led the England Lions fightback with a magnificent century that dominated a rain-interrupted third day of the second unofficial Test against Australia A at Edgbaston.
The wicketkeeper-batsman timed the ball superbly in an unbeaten 112, his second first-class century of the season, to help the Lions recover from 53 for four to 240 for five before bad light halted play 21 overs early.
Warwickshire all-rounder Chris Woakes enjoyed himself on home ground and helped Kieswetter take the initiative from the tourists in a rousing unbroken sixth-wicket partnership of 141 in 23 overs.
Woakes followed up his 92 in the first innings of last week’s first encounter at Old Trafford with 48 not out, but it was Kieswetter who dominated their swashbuckling stand.
Kieswetter, England’s current one-day and Twenty20 international wicketkeeper, played himself in during a fifth-wicket stand of 46 with Durham’s Ben Stokes, who made 26 without ever looking secure.
It came as no surprise when Stokes was caught behind mistiming a pull off seamer Jackson Bird, but Kieswetter then took control with dependable support from the in-form Woakes.
Kieswetter reached his fifty from 80 deliveries and pushed on after tea, requiring only 36 more balls to reach the 10th first-class century of his career.
The Somerset man cover drove Bird’s first two balls after the interval for four and then pulled the Tasmanian seamer for six.
Bird, playing in only his 11th first-class match, was given further punishment when Kieswetter straight drove before pulling him for consecutive boundaries to reach three figures.
Australia’s attack wilted after Nathan Coulter-Nile had Warwickshire opener Varun Chopra taken at square-leg off a mistimed pull and Samit Patel leg before with an inswinger.
Mitchell Johnson, the senior seamer, tested Joe Root with the short ball before having the Yorkshire opener strangled down the leg side, but the tourists lost their way after a lengthy rain break and struggled to get a wet ball to swing.
Off-spinner Nathan Lyon, who has played in 13 Tests, proved ineffective as Kieswetter grew in confidence and Woakes, with two first-class centuries to his name already this season, settled in.
Woakes struck Lyon for two fours in an over to close on his half-century before Australia A captain Ed Cowan recalled Johnson - a move that prompted the umpires’ decision to take the players off even though the floodlights had been on for more than two hours.
Australia A declared on their overnight score after a heavy shower ensured play started 30 minutes late.