England were left frustrated by maiden first-class hundreds from Jason Sangha and Matt Short as their final Ashes warm-up match with a Cricket Australia XI ended in a draw.
Teenager Sangha (133) was the first to three figures, followed by CA XI captain Short (134 not out) as the fourth-wicket pair’s mammoth stand of 263 lasted 75 overs to deny England
A stalemate prevailed at the Tony Ireland Stadium as Joe Root’s bowlers had no answer against the inexperienced hosts they trounced under lights in Adelaide last week as CA reached 364-4 at stumps to overturn a 265-run first-innings deficit and finish 99 in front.
It was the youngest of all the hosts who helped to confound England. Sangha’s 184-ball century was an innings of few blemishes, containing 10 fours and six and a willingness to take on the short ball when the challenge was set.
He did have an escape on 43 when Mark Stoneman intercepted a ferocious drive above head-height at cover off a Mason Crane full toss, but the England opener could not collect the rebound.
At the other end, Short also grew in confidence following his career-best bowling performance by powering past his highest first-class score too.
England’s difficult session was summed up when the only ‘catch’ taken was by a diving groundsman at long-on after Short had carted another Crane full toss 80 yards over the rope for six.
With CA back in front after lunch, Sangha reached richly-deserved century when he pulled Chris Woakes for four and became the second-youngest ever to reach the milestone against England behind only Sachin Tendulkar.
Short followed his team-mate to three figures shortly afterwards, his milestone coming from 190 balls.
It was only an eventual batsman error that brought a solitary breakthrough at last after tea, Sangha sweeping to short fine-leg off Crane. That remained the tourists’ only success of a difficult day, albeit on a pitch offering increasingly little to all bowlers.
England will be hoping the return of James Anderson next week, and possibly a fit-again Jake Ball too, can help them fare better against Australia’s Test batsmen when the Ashes get underway for real on a Brisbane surface which will bear little resemblance to this one.