Ashes 2015: Australia win final warm-up game with big victory over Essex

Australia win by 169 runs

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The Independent Online

Australia wrapped up a 169-run victory over Essex in their final Ashes warm-up match at Chelmsford, where it had earlier been announced veteran paceman Ryan Harris was to retire through injury.

Harris, 35, was a late withdrawal from the starting XI at the Essex County Ground, suffering sore knees after bowling at Canterbury, where he had taken four wickets.

Following the results of scans, Harris, who underwent major surgery on his right knee last year and missed the recent Test series in the West Indies due to the birth of his first child, took the difficult decision to call time on his career following 27 Tests and 113 wickets.

While the loss of Harris, who was on the fringes of the Australian Ashes team, is a blow to the tourists, their attack remains very much a potent threat, as shown by left-arm quick Mitchell Starc, who finished with nine wickets for 77 runs at Chelmsford.

Australia had resumed on Saturday morning at 212 for eight, a lead of 360, following 77 from captain Michael Clarke.

Essex soon dismissed tailender Peter Siddle for 19, bowled by Jamie Porter.

Australia were all out for 221 when Porter collected his third wicket of the innings as Nathan Lyon was caught by Ryan ten Doeschate for a second-ball duck, leaving Josh Hazlewood unbeaten on 12.

Essex returned to the crease needing 370 to win, but neither Nick Browne (finger) or first-innings centurion Tom Westley (ribs) were able to bat because of injury.

Makeshift opener Jesse Ryder soon set about the Australia attack, as Hazlewood was smashed for 26 off his first over. Hazlewood enjoyed better success when he trapped Jaik Mickleburgh (four) leg before wicket.

Essex were soon 43 for two when Starc removed Ryder's middle stump. The New Zealander made 37 from just 19 balls, with seven fours and a six. Captain Ravi Bopara, who scored 107 in the first innings, helped Essex move on to 81 without further loss by lunch.

The home side had reached 140 when the former England Test batsman was trapped lbw for 42 by Starc on the bowler's return to the attack at the River Stand in the 31st over.

Ten Doeschate continued to lead the resistance, passing his 50 in 78 balls, with seven boundaries and a six.

James Foster, promoted to number five because of the injuries, lasted 12 balls before he was out for a duck, caught low at second slip by Clarke off Starc.

Essex then found themselves 166 for five when Matt Salisbury (eight) edged Hazlewood behind. After Ten Doeschate was out lbw for 61 to Hazlewood (four for 42), Jamie Porter followed next ball, and the hosts were on the brink at 174 for seven.

Thomas Moore bludgeoned a huge six up into the radio commentary box before Aron Nijjar holed out to Chris Rogers off Lyon, the spinners' first wicket of the match.

Essex ended their innings on 200 for eight, with Moore unbeaten on 16.

Australia will now head to Cardiff ahead of their final preparations for the start of the Ashes on Thursday.

Captain Clarke was happy enough with performances during the two tour matches.

He said: "I think we are as well prepared as we can be for the first Test match.

"Individuals have got what they have needed, the build-up now is really exciting for the players.

"We needed these two games. We have had two wins out of two in the UK so far, which is a positive, and that was our main focus, so we can grab this momentum and take it into the first Test match."

PA

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