ASHES TOURISTS SPEND KOALA- TY TIME WITH LOCALS
ENGLAND cricket captain Alastair Cook got to know some of the locals yesterday, cuddling a koala and feeding a crocodile at Billabong Sanctuary. Cook is in Townsville with his teammates for this week’s pre- Ashes tour game at Riverway Stadium.
FORGET the searing pace of fast bowlers Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins, England cricketers had an even more fearsome Australian to contend with in Townsville yesterday.
After overcoming initial nerves, England captain Alastair Cook and all- rounder Moeen Ali fed chickens to Billabong Sanctuary’s monster 700kg crocodile Bully during their first day in the city.
The tourists also completed the less- daunting task of posing for photos with koalas in the build- up to the four- day clash with a Cricket Australia XI at Riverway Stadium from tomorrow.
“I’m a bit nervous, I just heard there’s one in there ( water) somewhere but I should be all right,” Ali joked before giving Bully his lunch.
Ali will play his first game of the tour in the final warm- up clash before the Ashes after overcoming a side strain.
Cicket Australia XI paceman Gurinder Sandhu will be looking to keep the pressure on England’s batsman, who have battled for runs in the first two clashes in Perth and Adelaide.
“It’s good for us to get a taste of playing at the highest level and see what we need to work on,” Sandhu said.
“I was here a few years ago playing in the under- 19 World Cup. ( Riverway) Stadium is a great stadium and I actually like playing there. It’s a very good cricket wicket, there’s a bit in it early like there should be in a four- day wicket.”
Tickets can be purchased via www. cricket. com. au/ tickets or at the gate for $ 10 for adults and $ 5 for concessions, while children 15 and under at date of match get in for free.
LEADING FROM THE FRONT: England captain Alastair Cook feeds a crocodile at Billabong Sanctuary yesterday.
Cook photographs a koala.