The Ashes: Notes from Day 4 of Australia A vs. England

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The Ashes: Notes from Day 4 of Australia A vs. England
Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

The washouts on Day 2 and 3, coupled with the duopoly of batting time for Alastair Cook and Michael Carberry, severely limited the scope of potential gains from this match for England.

Yet they made the most of the time available to them on the final day, with Joe Root spending crucial time in the middle—which should put to rest any lingering doubts surrounding his place in the team for the first Test—while James Anderson and Chris Tremlett impressed with the ball.

However, Stuart Broad's ten no-ball-ridden overs and Graeme Swann's six is the only competitive bowling either of them have had since arriving in Australia, and with Tremlett only bowling eight overs, this match will have added almost nothing to the debate surrounding the position of the final fast bowler.

Kevin Pietersen is also short of time in the middle but has proven in the past that such details are rarely of consequence to his Test performances. The late news regarding Matt Prior's calf injury was a sombre note to end a frustrating few days for England.

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England now have just one more warm-up match before the first Test, and they have yet to experience winning on this tour. While, of course, the weather was to blame in Hobart, the "winning feeling" is something that England have been keen to get going prior to the first Test on previous tours.

Considering England's proclivity to start series slowly, the final tour match is becoming increasingly important both for England to obtain a result and more pertinently, to get overs in the legs of Broad and Swann.

Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

The severity of Prior's calf injury is unclear, and the management does not appear overly concerned.

However if England's worst fears are realised and the injury is serious, then England may have to call a more specialist keeper into the squad, considering Jonny Bairstow hasn't played, let alone kept, on tour, and his keeping remains suspect. Frankly, even if Prior is not able to make the final warm-up match starting on Wednesday, it will be a serious blow, considering how little time Prior has spent with bat in hand thus far.

It does appear that the tour thus far has been far from fulfilling for England and that they have a handful of problems to solve before the first Test.

But Andy Flower was notably positive in his post-match press conference, and while, superficially, England have got little done, you can be sure that plenty of work will have gone on behind the scenes in the last week.

Although, whatever work has been done, it can't replace hours spent playing competitive cricket, and England will be itching to get going in Sydney on Wednesday.

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