Australia celebrate beating Essex by 169 runs © Getty Images
Australia celebrate beating Essex by 169 runs © Getty Images

London: Australia’s fast bowlers warmed up for next week’s first Test against England by seeing the tourists to a 169-run win over Essex in their final warm-up match on Sunday after Ryan Harris announced his retirement. Persistent knee trouble led 35-year-old pace-man Harris, an initial selection for this match after bowling well in the tour opener against Kent, to finally call time on an injury-plagued career by announcing his retirement from all cricket following 27 Tests for Australia which yielded 113 wickets. Read: Ryan Harris retires from all forms of cricket

But even if Harris, who underwent knee surgery last year and missed Australia‘s recent 2-0 series win in the Caribbean to attend the birth of his first child, had been fully fit it was by no means certain he would have been selected for the first Test against England in Cardiff starting on Wednesday.

Ashes-holders Australia’s touring party includes several fine fast bowlers, with Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Johnson and Josh Hazlewood in line to form the core components of their Test attack. The experienced Peter Siddle is also in the squad, while the 22-year-old Pat Cummins has been summoned as a replacement for Harris.

Hazlewood, after an expensive first over Sunday, finished with four for 42 as Essex, set 370 for victory, were bowled out for 200 with both first-innings century maker Tom Westley and Nick Browne unable to bat because of rib and finger injuries respectively. It was left-arm quick Starc who looked the most consistently threatening of the Australia bowlers on show against Essex. Read: Mitchell Starc takes 6 wickets before Australia stumble

His second innings return of three for 26 gave Starc match figures of nine for 77 following a first-innings haul of six for 51.  Australia, who resumed on 212 for eight following captain Michael Clarke‘s 77, were dismissed for 221. Former New Zealand all-rounder Jesse Ryder, promoted to open the Essex innings, truck 26 runs off Hazlewood’s first over. 

But Hazlewood had Jaik Mickleburgh, Essex’s other opening batsman, lbw for four. Meanwhile Ryder’s entertaining 37 off 19 balls, including seven fours and a six, came to an end when Starc uprooted his middle stump. Essex captain Ravi Bopara, who made 107 in the first innings, had moved on to 42 second time around when the former England all-rounder was lbw to the express Starc. Read: Essex batsmen punish wayward Australian bowlers

Bopara’s exit left Essex 140 for three and the last five wickets fell for 60 runs as Australia worked their wway through the rest of the order, with only Dutch all-rounder Ryan ten Doeschate (61) offering much resistance before he was lbw to Hazlewood.

Brief Scores:

Australians 562 (David Warner 94, Mitchell Marsh 169; Jamie Porter 3 for 97, Thomas Moore 2 for 74) & 221 (Michael Clarke 77; Jamie Porter 3 for 42) beat Essex 414 (Tom Westley 144, Ravi Bopara 107; Mitchell Starc 6 for 51) & 200 (Ryan ten Doeschate 77; Mitchell Starc 3 for 26, Josh Hazlewood 4 for 42) by 169 runs.

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