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Monday, July 16, 2018

Run-hungry Shane Watson improves form ahead of The Ashes

Watson underlined his improved form heading into The Ashes series by scoring a 94-ball 100.

Written by Agencies | Worcester | Published: July 3, 2013 1:48:03 am

Shane Watson underlined his improved form heading into the Ashes series by scoring a 94-ball century in Australia’s warm-up match against Worcestershire on Tuesday. Opening the batting alongside Chris Rogers — Australia’s confirmed top two for the first Test against England starting July 10 — Watson struck 14 fours and two sixes to bring up three figures at New Road before lunch on the first day of the four-day game. The quick-scoring Watson made 90 off 94 balls in last week’s tour match against Somerset,which Australia won to boost confidence ahead of the Ashes.

Clean slate for warner

Controversial Australia batsman David Warner has a “clean slate” and is in contention to return for next week’s first Ashes Test,coach Darren Lehmann said. Warner is currently suspended for a late-night bar room attack on England batsman Joe Root after Australia’s Champions Trophy defeat by their Ashes hosts early last month. According to new coach Lehmann,who took over from Mickey Arthur last week,the batsman has been doing well in practice and could return for the opening test at Nottingham’s Trent Bridge ground.

“He’s done everything right in the nets. He’s impressed me. He’s a very talented guy,” Lehmann told the BBC. “The slate’s pretty clean with him. We’ve spoken about it and dealt with it. We’ll move on. Just sensible,straight down the line chat,and we won’t have that issue again.” Warner will not return to the side as an opening batsman,where he has played all but one of his 34 test innings,after Lehmann announced on Monday that Chris Rogers would partner Shane Watson at the top of the order.

With Ed Cowan,Michael Clarke and Phil Hughes settled at three,four and five,Lehmann could deploy Warner as a counter-attacking number six. “He can bat anywhere,” the coach added.

England’s warm-up farce

England’s pre-Ashes warm-up game against Essex was stripped of its first-class status after the county’s injury-hit attack had to be bolstered by England’s 12th man,Boyd Rankin.

After dismissing Essex for 278 in their first innings early on the third day of the four-day match,England’s second innings descended into near-farce.

Essex opening bowlers David Masters and Tymal Mills were injured and could not bowl. Eight bowlers were used in the innings including Rankin and Reece Topley,an Essex player not included in the county’s original team.

England captain Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott had found scoring so easy that they retired as they approached their centuries to give team mates batting practice.

Leggie Ahmed is now an Aussie

Melbourne: Leg-spinner Fawad Ahmed was named an Australian citizen on Tuesday,clearing the final procedural hurdle for his selection for the Ashes series against England starting on July 10. Former Federal Minister for Immigration Brendan O’Connor made the announcement within a fortnight of the Australian Senate passing legislation to fast-track citizenship in special cases.

“It’s a long journey and it was a long struggle,” said Ahmed,who arrived in Australia on a short-term visa in 2010 and claimed asylum on the grounds of receiving death threats from Islamic extremists for being involved with a Pakistani NGO promoting women’s rights.

“I just can’t wait to be a citizen. Especially in the field of cricket,I just want to give back something to this country,” added the 31-year-old,who Australia hope can fill the huge void left by Shane Warne.

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