Rusty Eng­land ripe for pick­ing


RYAN Har­ris says Eng­land is there for the tak­ing with “rusty” opener Alas­tair Cook and a soft bat­ting un­der­belly arm­ing Aus­tralian coach Dar­ren Lehmann with the “ammo” for Ashes ret­ri­bu­tion.

Eng­land rolled the CA XI by 192 runs yes­ter­day in its pinkball warm-up in Ade­laide but not be­fore its bat­ting was ex­posed by Tas­ma­nian all­rounder Si­mon Milenko (5/34) and a col­lec­tion of rook­ies.

Eng­land lost 6/31 on the third night as it faced life with­out the mid­dle-or­der in­sur­ance of sin-binned su­per­star Ben Stokes.

Asked if Eng­land was vul­ner­a­ble en­ter­ing the Novem­ber 23 Ashes opener in Bris­bane, CA XI coach Har­ris said: “I think it is, es­pe­cially if Stokes isn’t at No.6 or No.7 but it de­pends on how the boys bowl to them.”

For­mer Ashes team-mates Chris Rogers, Har­ris, head coach Dar­ren Lehmann and ex-Eng­land bowl­ing coach David Saker all con­trib­uted to a dossier on the tourists’ weak links af­ter the tour match.

“I note down ev­ery game I play. If our bowlers ask me, I have some ammo for them. We got some good in­tel and knowl­edge on what we want to do,” said 27-Test speed­ster Har­ris.

“Chris Rogers played a lot of cricket with and against Eng­land’s play­ers and will take some good stuff back. The coach was here, so he saw a bit as well.”

Cook’s high­est score is 32 in seven in­nings while he’s yet to bed down sig­nif­i­cant bat­ting time with new open­ing part­ner Mark Stone­man. Cook can look patchy even when in touch but the 147-Test great has one hit-out in Townsville to find his Ashes groove.

“How can I be nice. . . I thought he looked rusty, to be hon­est,” said 2013-14 Ashes de­stroyer Har­ris of for­mer Eng­land skip­per Cook.

“He is pretty good in these con­di­tions and knows what he has to do, I’m sure he will look for­ward to an­other hit next week.

“He looked a lit­tle rusty but we know what he can do, he is world-class. We will see what hap­pens when he comes up to Bris­bane.”

All-rounder Stokes top­scored with 60 af­ter a 5/63 col­lapse to set up Eng­land’s de­ci­sive third Test win against the West Indies in Septem­ber.

Ques­tions re­main how new-breed bats­men Dawid Malan and James Vince will survive in Aus­tralian con­di­tions, while Eng­land hope key all-rounder Moeen Ali has re­cov­ered from a side strain. Stone­man is the only Eng­land bats­man in solid touch, with three half-centuries this tour.

Skip­per Joe Root made 1 in Eng­land’s sec­ond in­nings here and re­mains the first tar­get for Mitchell Starc and Pat Cum­mins in Bris­bane.

“We have been known to tar­get the cap­tain when we play against them,” said Har­ris. “If you take out the two or three best play­ers in the op­po­si­tion it will be hard. That is what the Aus­tralians will do.”

Pic­ture: AFP

WARM-UP: Eng­land pace­man Craig Over­ton bowls on the last day of the Ashes tour match at Ade­laide Oval.

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