David Warner warmed up for the Ashes with a half-century in Australia’s inter-squad match as wickets continued to tumble at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton.
So dominant have bowlers proved in Australia’s only warm-up game ahead of the five-Test series with England that this scheduled four-day fixture will just about limp into the third morning.
But at least Warner, playing his first four-day game for 16 months, spent some time in the middle in the contest between the Brad Haddin XII and the Graeme Hick XII.
Warner struck eight fours in his 94-ball 58 – the first player to make a half-century in the game – before pulling tamely to mid-on.
Pat Cummins had earlier finished with five for 24 to clean up the tail of the Hick team, who led by a modest 15 runs after being dismissed for 120.
James Pattinson (three for 19) and Chris Tremain (two for 27) made early in-roads into the Haddin XII’s batting the second time around, with Warner’s main support coming from Will Pucovski (37) and Alex Carey (26).
But Mitchell Marsh (five for 34) scythed through the innings to dismiss them for 170 and leave the Hick XII needing 156 for victory.
By stumps on day two, during which 15 wickets fell for 229 runs, that slim advantage had been converted into a 121-run victory target.
Joe Burns (0) and Steve Smith (eight) fell to Cummins and Peter Siddle, but Cameron Bancroft (25 not out) helped move the Hick XII’s second innings on to 35 for two.
It is unclear what training regime now awaits the expanded 25-man squad with this practice match set to reach a swift conclusion on Thursday.
But it is expected that Australia will announce their 16-man Ashes squad around lunchtime on Friday.