x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Bell fails to strike again for England

Mitchell Johnson struck twice after lunch and England hopeful Ian Bell was dismissed after a slow-going 20 in the final warm-up game at New Road.

WORCESTER // Mitchell Johnson struck twice after lunch and England hopeful Ian Bell was dismissed after a slow-going 20 in the final warm-up game at New Road yesterday. After declaring at lunch with a lead of 444 runs, the tourists made quick inroads into the Lions' top order with first innings centurion Stephen Moore and Joe Denly exiting to Johnson. Moore was snapped up at second slip by Ricky Ponting for 16 and Denly was caught behind for 36 before Bell departed just before tea to leave England's second-string side 105 for three.

Bell was being watched first-hand by the England selectors and captain Andrew Strauss in Worcester. But the Lions captain never got going in a careful 63-ball knock before being caught at short leg off the bowling of Nathan Hauritz. He made a first ball duck in the first innings. Johnson was expensive, but his pace was back over 90mph and the left-armer also showed glimpses of the reverse swing which booked Brett Lee's berth in the Test line-up for Wednesday's opener at Cardiff.

Ponting turned to part-time spinner Marcus North ahead of the out-of-touch Hauritz, who is looking increasingly unlikely to make his debut next week. But the specialist off-spinner eventually came on 15 minutes before the tea interval and struck in his third over. Earlier, North - who had been doubtful about his place in the side prior to this following a series of low scores - marched his way to an unbeaten 191 in Australia's 438 for four declared.

Mike Hussey hit a run-a-ball 62 before the batsman retired hurt with a sore ankle. Hussey, who scored 150 in the first innings to dispel any suggestion his international powers were on the wane, returned to the field 10 minutes after lunch. Australia's top seven have all posted half-centuries in their two warm-up matches. * AFP