Amar Virdi made the most of an unexpected chance with the England Lions to take the individual honours from a tough first day of their three-day match against a Queensland selection in Brisbane on Monday.
The 19-year-old Surrey off-spinner was given special permission to join the match, which does not have first-class status, when Nottinghamshire’s new signing Paul Coughlin suffered a hip injury in the field in the morning session.
Virdi responded by taking four wickets as the Queenslanders raced to 396 for eight declared on the fast-scoring Allan Border Field – with Nick Gubbins and captain Keaton Jennings steering the Lions through a tricky short session to reach 19 without loss at the close.
“It was a tough day, really hot, but I really enjoyed it,” said Virdi after his first Lions appearance, having been invited to join the squad for the first time during the games against South Africa last summer.
“It’s more of a training camp out here in Australia but after all the work and prep in the nets it’s nice to get out and play.
“All in all it was a good day – four wickets, and nice bowling on an Australian wicket – it’s my first time out here, so it’s great experience. The pitches are definitely different, with more pace and bounce than I’m used to at home – a bit more purchase and bite. That’s interesting for me.”
Virdi was not the only Lions bowler to impress, despite the scoreline.
Mark Wood and Tom Curran were both praised by captain Jennings for the way they bowled with new ball and old, and Jack Leach also picked up a wicket.
But Coughlin, who joined Nottinghamshire from Durham at the end of the season, will take no further part in the match as he awaits the results of scans.
The match concludes the first half of the Lions’ Australian trip in Brisbane. They fly to Perth later this week to switch the focus to white-ball skills, with one 50-over fixture and four T20 matches which form part of Perth Scorchers’ preparations for the Big Bash.