Cricket: England A bowlers thwarted by rain

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Australian Academy 258 and 70-2 England A 272

England A were restricted to just 17 overs play by bad weather on the third day of their tour match at Marist Park yesterday. Rain delayed the start for nearly three hours in the morning before a further downpour ended play with the Academy on 70 for two, 56 runs ahead of the tourists.

The Derbyshire fast bowler Andrew Harris claimed both wickets, trapping Michael Dighton lbw without him offering a shot in the fourth over of the day as the Academy began their second innings 14 runs adrift.

Jerry Cassell, who finished unbeaten on 42, forged a half-century partnership with Lee Carseldine, dropped on two by Mark Ealham off Glen Chapple, before Harris tempted him to edge behind to Warren Hegg for 21.

"If there had been no play today then we would have talked about abandoning it and having a one-day match tomorrow," admitted the England A manager David Graveney. "But at 70 for 2 with the ball swinging around, we are in too good a position to want to throw it away."

Third day of four; England A won toss

AUSTRALIAN ACADEMY - First Innings 258 (M Dighton 72, S Craig 61; A F Giles 4-63).

ENGLAND A - First Innings

M A Butcher c Haddin b Nash 81

J E R Gallian c Craig b Nash 18

M P Vaughan c Cassell b Craig 40

O A Shah c Haddin b Nash 28

*A J Hollioake c Sutherland b Hewett 62

M A Ealham c Carseldine b Nash 0

W K Hegg c Poole b Nash 1

A F Giles c Haddin b Nash 0

G Chapple c Smith b Hewett 0

A J Harris c Poole b Nash 10

P M Such not out 0

Extras (b5, lb5, nb22) 32

Total (86.2 overs) 272

Fall: 1-47, 2-119, 3-180, 4-191, 5-191, 6-199, 7-199, 8-199, 9-265.

Bowling: Nash 20-3-66-7; Hewett 15.2-2-66-2; Thornley 8-2-17-0; Sutherland 8-2-33-0; Poole 6-1-19-0; Craig 10-2-36-1; Smith 19-7-25-0.

AUSTRALIAN ACADEMY - Second Innings J J Cassell not out 42

M Dighton lbw b Harris 4

A Carseldine c Hegg b Harris 21

J Poole not out 0

Extras (lb2, w1) 3

Total (for 2, 17 overs) 70

Fall: 1-20, 2-70.

To bat: A Smith, S Craig, E Haddin, E Sutherland, D Nash, I Hewett, D Thornley.

Bowling: Chapple 7-1-22-0; Harris 5-0-30-2; Ealham 5-1-16-0.

Umpires: A Hunter and K Russell.

West Indies are struggling to avoid an embarrassing innings defeat against an Australian XI in Hobart just five days before the first Test against Australia in Brisbane. The tourists have eight wickets in hand, but trail by 125 runs before they start the final day of the four-day game at the Bellerive Oval.

An unbeaten 93 by Courtney Browne failed to save West Indies a humiliating return to the crease as Andrew Bichel and Anthony Stuart extracted bounce and movement to take four wickets each.