Ashes 2017-18: Craig Overton boosts Test hopes as England complete victory
|Tour match, Adelaide (day four of four):|
|England 293 & 207-9 Bairstow 61*, Stoneman 51, Milenko 5-34|
|Cricket Australia XI 233-9 dec & 75 Short 28, Woakes 4-17, Anderson 3-12, Overton 3-15|
|England won by 192 runs|
All-rounder Craig Overton put himself firmly in the frame for a starting place in the first Ashes Test as he helped England complete a 192-run win over a Cricket Australia XI.
England took just 30 minutes to seal victory on day four as uncapped Overton, 23, finished with 3-15 and James Anderson 3-12, as the hosts were bowled out for 75 in their second innings.
Chris Woakes had earlier taken England to the brink of triumph with 4-17 on day three.
Cricket Australia coach Ryan Harris said: “I think it’s going to be a really good series.”
Matt Short and Gurinder Sandhu had held England up through an extra half-hour on Friday evening as the hosts recovered from 25 for seven, but Overton broke the eighth-wicket stand without addition to the overnight 45 in the first over of the new day.
Short made it easy for the Somerset seamer aiming an ambitious pull at a ball which smashed into middle-stump.
Anderson took the ninth wicket, left-hander Sandhu trapped lbw from round the wicket, and the match was over when Anderson had Daniel Fallins flailing an edge to slip in his next over.
Overton’s compelling audition
Far from being overawed by the chance to capitalise on Ben Stokes’ absence and strengthen his hopes of starting against Australia at the Gabba on 23 November, Overton seized it.
His form helped deflect attention from the struggles of former captain Alastair Cook at the top of the order, and Overton admitted the first Test in Brisbane is rarely off his mind.
“I don’t think you can stop thinking about it if I’m being honest,” he said. “It’s obviously in my mind making sure that I take the chance when it comes and hopefully I get a chance.”
Overton added that team-mate Jake Ball, who sprained an ankle in a warm-up game, is recovering quicker than expected.
He said: “I spoke to him last night and he was saying seven to 10 days so we are hoping it’s not too long. Hopefully it’s not as serious as it looked.”
CA coach Harris, meanwhile, believes thinks Trevor Bayliss’ tourists still have weaknesses that can be exploited.
“I think it’s a good attack but there’s probably not a lot of pace there,” he said. “Obviously [Stuart Broad] didn’t play, but if you’ve got Anderson in your team it’s going to be a good attack.
“We’ve got some good intel and some good knowledge on what we want to do which I’ll pass onto our bowlers.
“I think Australia will win, but I think it’s going to be really close. But I think we’ll get over the line. We are really difficult to beat in our own conditions. I’m looking forward to it.”
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