Mon, Oct 30, 5:32pm by Head Editor
The first round of the Sheffield Shield season has been run and won, and while their weren’t many runs, Aussie spearhead Mitchell Starc sent an ominous warning to England’s batsmen ahead of the Ashes, with a career-best 8/73 against South Australia.
The left-arm quick ended the match with 10 wickets for 119 runs as NSW defeated the Redbacks by six wickets at the Adelaide Oval. Nathan Lyon and Pat Cummins are two other bowlers who are certain to be in the Aussie squad that takes the field in the first Ashes Test against England on November 23, and they were also among the wickets, with two each.
The news wasn’t as good for Aussie skipper Steve Smith, who managed scores of just three and nine in the match, but David Warner was in the runs, scoring 83 in the first innings and 32 in the second.
The only man to reach triple figures in the opening round of fixtures was Queensland skipper Usman Khuwaja, who made 122 as his state beat Victoria by 110 runs. The knock has all but assured that the 30-year-old will be in the Australian XI at the Gabba for the first Test.
One man who may not be there is Glenn Maxwell, who scored just 27 runs in two knocks for Victoria in their loss to the Bulls, while the first round of matches also did nothing to clear up the wicketkeeping situation.
Matthew Wade was error free with the gloves in Perth when he took the field for Tasmania, but twin failures with the bat (1 and 6) were a concern. Peter Nevill didn’t make runs either and he was charged with an error, which won’t help his cause.
The England squad landed in Perth on Sunday, and that’s where their tour starts, with a two-day match against Western Australia on November 4 and 5. The tourists then fly to Adelaide for a four-day match against a Cricket Australia XI, which begins on November 8.
Australia have shortened from $1.57 to $1.40 to regain the Ashes, while England are out from $3.75 to $4 to be just the second touring side to win in the last nine editions of cricket’s oldest rivalry.
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