England have made a huge statement coming into the Ashes with the highest opening partnership ever seen at the Bellerive Oval during their warm up game versus Australia A.
On a day when England won the toss and chose to bat in Hobart by the end of it they could have hardly imagined that Cook and Carberry had achieved a massive opening partnership of 308-0, with the captain Cook returning for his first game on tour scoring 154* and his new opening partner Michael Carberry closing the day on 153*.
This Australia A team on paper looked like they would provide England with ideal preparation going into that first Ashes test with players such as Khawaja, Paine, Marsh and Henriques who have all been capped by Australia at test level. The only weakness looking at the side was the lack of another bowler and unfortunately for them on a seemingly flat wicket has hurt them.
There’s no doubt this was England’s day finishing at stumps on 308-0 but in particular this was Michael Carberry’s day, his 153* all but cementing his place as Cook’s opening partner for the first test at the Gabba in two weeks time. Early on in the innings Carberry had to do a lot of hard work early on with Ben Cutting and Trent Copeland keeping things tight and bowling a very good line just outside off stump.
Carberry’s temperament and technique was tested and despite taking 16 deliveries to get off the mark he rarely looked troubled by the Australian A bowlers, he took a particular liking to the part time bowling of Glenn Maxwell and left arm spinner John Holland. He used his feet superbly and through the course of his innings hit 22 boundaries and 2 sixes at a strike rate of 53.
Cook on the other hand picked up where he left off two years ago and his 154* will worry the Australian bowlers, particularly the ease in which he accumulated the runs. There were some signs that his back trouble hadn’t completely disappeared with some stiff running between the wickets early on but after that be it pace or spin he didn’t look remotely troubled.
As for Australia A it was a very flat wicket in the end but the opening partnership of Cutting and Copeland possessed no great pace rarely going above 135km/h and after the new ball effects had worn off they were all completely nullified. The two spin options of Holland and Maxwell bowled far too short at times and it was too easy for Cook to pull them away and when the ball was given a bit more air Carberry was quick to use his feet and smash it into the stands.
There will be plenty of tougher challenges ahead for England’s batsmen but with both Bell and Trott already in good nick after the last game and now this opening stand from Cook and Carberry the batting is in great order. The only question mark that remains now is that of the third seamer and over the coming days it will be interesting to see exactly who manages to grab that spot.
Carberry hails his and Cook’s heroics http://t.co/kVhJo4T3BK
— England Cricket (@ECB_cricket) November 6, 2013