England wrap up Ashes preparations with win
England wrapped up their Ashes preparations with a convincing 10-wicket victory over Australia A at the Bellerive Oval in Hobart today.
Chris Tremlett and Monty Panesar led the final-day victory charge with three wickets apiece as the home side were bowled out, despite a stubborn century from skipper Cameron White, having established a lead of only eight runs.
Skipper Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook then knocked off the simple task in nine balls immediately after the tea break to secure a second win in three warm-up games ahead of next week's first Test at the Gabba in Brisbane.
It was the culmination of an ideal preparation period for the tourists, after they had elected to send their first-choice bowling attack to Brisbane on the opening day of this game in order to acclimatise to conditions in Queensland.
With the focus therefore on their batsmen in Hobart, Ian Bell's near perfect 192 led another solid hit out with Paul Collingwood, Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott all enjoying some significant time in the middle. Kevin Pietersen provided the only negative when he was bowled by young spinner Steve O'Keefe on the second day.
And the Australia selectors seemingly responded to that today by selecting one such bowler, Xavier Doherty, in their 13-man squad for the first Test.
England team manager Andy Flower could feel content with his batsmen's preparations, as well as the depth of his attack after it was his group of second-stringers that bowled the tourists to victory. Tim Bresnan claimed the three wickets to fall last night and Tremlett repeated the feat in the second hour this morning, when he also put himself on a hat-trick.
The home side's hopes of a draw faded after Tremlett took two in two.
And while the Aussies scrambled to the merest of leads, England's chase was swift with Strauss pulling Peter George to the midwicket fence to complete the job, and his side's preparations for the Ashes in five days time.