Ben Stokes smashes 42 from 56 balls for England in warm-up match against the Lions… but captain Joe Root and Dawid Malan struggle while Jonny Bairstow falls for golden duck on the final day
- England completed their final day of warm-up action on Friday against the Lions
- Ben Stokes backed up a decent bowling display by impressing with the bat
- Joe Root and Dawid Malan, however, could only manage single figures
- Jonny Bairstow fell for a first-ball duck before swapping sides and scoring 11
England’s strangest and most inadequate Ashes preparation ended on Friday with glorified middle practice amongst themselves and the second-string England Lions players.
The La Nina weather pattern did at least relent to allow a second full day without interruption.
It was meant to be a four-day match but England decided to try to get as many players involved rather than stage any sort of proper game.
Ben Stokes scored 42 runs from 56 balls on the final day of England’s warm-up match on Friday
There were failures however, with Jonny Bairstow falling for a first-ball duck against the Lions
At least Ben Stokes followed up his two wickets on the ‘third’ day to make an unbeaten 42 off 56 balls before retiring out as he continued his comeback in his first cricket game since July when he took a break to repair his broken finger and protect his mental health.
‘Ben played nicely,’ said opener Rory Burns, who made 37 retired out. ‘It was a typical Stokesy innings, very fluent. The scoreboard was always ticking and he was seeing them well I thought.’
But Jonny Bairstow, favourite to bat at No 6 ahead of Ollie Pope, was dismissed twice for 11 runs, including a golden duck, against a Lions side boosted by the inclusion of Ashes squad bowlers Mark Wood and Chris Woakes.
England captain Joe Root managed only nine runs on the final day of the warm-up game
Jimmy Anderson was one England bowler who gained something from the experience as he swapped sides — having bowled just eight overs on Thursday, and took two wickets in two balls.
But his old strike partner Stuart Broad admitted preparation — which has seen both sides fail to complete a single match before the first Test at the Gabba on December 8 — will leave them severely undercooked.
‘I don’t think any cricketer leading into the Test can honestly say they are going to be fully ready physically,’ said Broad.
‘You can be fully switched on mentally but every player is going to be finding their way into the game. That’s where you have to rely on experience.’
The Ashes starts on December 8 and Dawid Malan will go into it off the back of just eight runs