Johnson fires it up in routine draw
Mitchell Johnson and Nathan Hauritz were the major beneficiaries of a largely humdrum last day of match practice for Australia ahead of the Ashes.
England Lions were set a nominal target of 445 in 60 overs at New Road after Marcus North’s unbeaten 191 had set up a lunchtime declaration by Australia, and the home side ended on 162 for four with 14 overs remaining.
The game ended in unfortunate fashion with umpire Jeff Evans needing treatment from a paramedic after tumbling to the floor but he was able to eventually walk from the outfield.
It was a good workout for Ricky Ponting’s side and the cricket was intense for the first three days before the tourists opted for batting and bowling practice on the final day rather than set a challenging target.
For the tourists, the biggest plus was the return to form of Brett Lee who, at 31, is now the senior statesman of the Australian attack.
Lee demonstrated that he has fully recovered from ankle surgery in the winter and used reverse swing to good effect in taking six first innings wickets.
When Australia bowled, Ponting allowed himself a long look at his three likely spinners - Hauritz, Simon Katich and North - and it was the off-spinner, Hauritz, who claimed the wicket of Ian Bell to the last ball before tea.
Prior to lunch, North and Michael Hussey had taken advantage of the benign pitch to gain further valuable practice.
North hit 23 fours and one six in his 281-ball innings. He survived one caught and bowled chance, put down by Harmison on 120.
Hussey made an unbeaten 62 before retiring hurt with a sore ankle which he had suffered during the warm-up, although it is not a cause for concern.
North and Brad Haddin (25 not out) plundered 73 from 10 overs before Ponting's declaration.
Mitchell Johnson conceded 11 runs in his first over of the Lions’ second innings but made the first breakthrough when Stephen Moore (16) went for a drive and was held by Ponting at second slip.
Joe Denly reeled off a series of handsome drives before Johnson struck for the second time when the Kent batsman edged behind to wicketkeeper Haddin. Johnson was eventually rested after a spell of 9-2-48-2.
Bell, who had made a golden duck in the first innings, made 20 from 63 balls before flicking at a Hauritz delivery and falling to smart catch at short leg by Simon Katich.
It was only Hauritz’s second victim of the tour after match figures of 1-158 against Sussex at Hove and 0-80 in the first innings against the Lions.
Lee again showed his potency in knocking out Vikram Solanki’s leg stump with a swinging delivery.