Keaton Jennings was delighted by the way his England Lions team held their nerve to beat a strong Perth Scorchers line-up and become the first ever winners at Western Australia’s stunning new stadium today.
The Lions were given the honour of playing the first match at the 55,000-capacity Perth Stadium which is due to stage England’s ODI against Australia in the New Year.
And after a difficult few days for everyone involved in England cricket in Perth and beyond, the players relished the surroundings to beat a Scorchers team who are preparing to launch their defence of the Big Bash title they have won three times in the last four years – and who included England star David Willey, as well as Australia internationals Hilton Cartwright, Andrew Tye, Ashton Agar and Adam Voges.
“It was an awesome experience for all of us playing in the Coliseum they’ve created here, and I thought the boys did really well to beat a very strong and experienced Scorchers side,” said Jennings.
“It wasn’t an easy pitch to bat on but we assessed the conditions and batted sensibly. And then all four of our seamers bowled well, with Saqi Mahmood exceptional.
“It’s been an intense few days for all of us but winning a game always puts some smiles back on faces. We’re back here for a Day-Nighter at the new stadium on Wednesday when they’re expecting quite a big crowd, and now we’re all looking forward to that.”
Joe Clarke gave the Lions a breezy start after they had been put in by making 18 from 8 balls until he drove Willey to mid-off, and Dan Lawrence then joined Nick Gubbins to add 39 for the second wicket.
Gubbins fell for 31 from 23 balls, and Lawrence for 25 from 25, to leave the Lions on 84 for three, but Jennings then linked up with his new Lancashire team-mate Liam Livingstone in a fourth-wicket stand of 46.
They both fell to Willey, who ended with three for 32 from his four overs, but Paul Coughlin and Alex Davies steered the Lions to a total of 160 for six – with Livingstone top-scoring with 36 from 30 balls, including two fours and a six.
Mahmood then gave the Lions’ defence the perfect start when he trapped the dangerous Josh Philippe lbw with the first ball of the Scorchers’ reply.
George Garton then broke a second-wicket stand of 54 when he had Josh Inglis caught at mid wicket by Jennings, and Coughlin followed up with the prize scalp of Adam Voges, bowled for 5.
Dom Bess dismissed Ashton Turner in his single over which conceded only five runs, and Mark Wood had Tim David caught behind.
Cartwright made 56 from 41 balls until he was run out by Coughlin, and Mahmood then returned to skittle through the lower order as Agar was bowled for a duck, and Willey holed out to Coughlin at deep mid wicket.
The Lancashire seamer only conceded four runs from the 19th over, leaving Wood to complete the victory.