Jade Dernbach had the perfect start to his England year yesterday as the second-rate Lions were put to the sword, offering coach Andy Flower few clues as to who can and cannot play spin against Pakistan in the one-day series which starts on Monday.
The South African-born seamer took a wicket with his first ball and had figures of 3 for 2 at one stage as he and Steven Finn turned the warm-up fixture against England Lions into a mis-match at the Zayed Stadium. Both the pacemen finished with three wickets as the Lions were bowled out for 96 in less than 29 overs. Even after a "revised" target of 230 was agreed, England coasted past that with 25 balls to spare, thanks to half-centuries from Alastair Cook (68) and Jonathan Trott (75 not out).
Dernbach reflected on his contribution, which included knocking back Alex Hales' off-stump for a golden duck, with satisfaction.
"I hope it can continue," he said, looking forward to the four-match ODI series. "It was a nice way to start, to set the tone – and that's a job we need to do in this series to be successful. The aim in any one-day cricket is to take early wickets. You're giving yourself the best possible opportunity of slowing the scoring rate. If we can keep doing that game to game, we'll be all right."
Dernbach discounted any concerns that this fixture, played during the day, might not be ideal preparation to take on Pakistan in four day-nighters.
"There are a few training sessions scheduled under lights," he said. "It was just important we got used to the conditions, for guys who might not have played at this stadium before. Playing in the heat is always going to help to get the boys accustomed, so today was perfect. The aim was to get a run-out with all the boys together. Then to get a victory like that is impressive."
Dernbach was most recently in action for the Lions on their successful tour of Sri Lanka, but before that he spent time as a squad player for Melbourne Stars in the Twenty20 Big Bash.
"Today was the icing on the cake, to get a few wickets," he said. "It's going to be slightly different here, but spending a bit of time in the sub-continent is not going to do me any harm: getting that experience and trying to use it in all the best possible situations."
The Lions' manager, David Parsons, had to acknowledge that his young players had not performed well.
He said: "We're a little bit disappointed that we weren't able to put up a better show. Some players will go away a little bit more clued-up on what's required at that top level. But I guess that disappointment is tinged with some satisfaction, seeing Jade bowl so well."
Westfield to wait a week for sentence
The former Essex bowler Mervyn Westfield will return to court next Friday, after the judge delayed sentencing for a week "due to various administrative matters". Westfield faces being jailed after pleading guilty last month to spot fixing. He admitted accepting £6,000 to concede a pre-arranged number of runs during a Pro40 match between Durham and Essex in 2009.
In Perth, Australia survived a nervous last over to beat Sri Lanka by five runs. Sri Lanka, having dismissed Australia for 231, needed six runs off the last two balls to win but fell just short of the target.