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Productive tour for U19s

Posted in England U19s

Ben Foakes

Our tour of Australia was extremely productive on the whole as we triumphed in four out of five games

Our second group game saw us take on New Zealand in a top-of-the-table clash. We knew this was a big opportunity to send out a statement to the other teams that we were going to be a force in the tournament.

On a wicket that saw the Kiwis bowl India out for 126 we felt it was a better option to bowl first. As we did in the Australia game we got off to a controlled start reducing them to 34 off the first 15.

This tight start soon paid dividends as we then took our first three wickets for just three runs. The wickets continued to fall as the two stand-out performers (Adam Ball with 3-10 off five overs and Aneesh Kapil with 4-6 from five overs) ensured there was to be no late innings surge. An extremely ruthless bowling performance meant we were to chase a below-par total of 79 for victory.

Once again Daniel Bell-Drummond got us off to a solid start on a more difficult batting wicket than that at The Tony Ireland stadium. When Sam Kelsall was dismissed, the score had ticked along to 40 for one. DBD and I then took the boys over the line for an almost perfect nine-wicket win with 191 balls remaining.

The final group game matched us against India. Again bowling first we got off to a sluggish start in the field, however we managed to restrain the Indians at the back end of their innings which meant we would be chasing 269 to win.

We got off to a good start, DBD scoring 55 and myself contributing 93 before Craig Overton secured the win with 68 not out. The game was taken into the last over, but when a calm Sam Wood hit a six over long-on off his first ball the game was ours.

After topping the group with three wins from three we had a repeat fixture against the Indians.

This time, however, it was a different story. After a bowling performance that was not as good as it should have been on a wicket that offered something for the bowlers we required 240 to win the semi-final.

After a poor start we never managed to recover and only managed to scrape to 176 all out. This loss meant we would have to contest the third/fourth place play-off against the Kiwis.

Again we under-performed, with the ball being hit all over the park. The strength of our bowling attack finally showed later on in the innings with Mo Abid picking up three quick wickets to get us back into the game.

The New Zealand side managed to post a daunting score of 272 in their bid to secure third spot. A steady start from DBD and Jack Leaning saw us lose our first wicket on 98 while sliding slightly behind the required run-rate.

A few quick wickets saw us fall to 163 for four before Adam Ball's 46 not out off 24 balls and my 105 not out off 84 balls saw us home comfortably with 34 balls remaining.

India went from coming bottom of the group to beating Australia in the final to cause a heavy upset in the tournament. Overall it was an extremely productive tour for us winning four from five and beating our World Cup group rivals Australia.