Khawaja fluffs Ashes audition, England tour match drawn

Sat Nov 9, 2013 2:59am EST
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SYDNEY (Reuters) - Usman Khawaja fluffed his Ashes audition with a soft dismissal for just three runs as England's rain-disrupted tour match against Australia A in Hobart ended in a draw on Saturday.

England will be satisfied with unbeaten 150s for skipper Alastair Cook and his opening partner Michael Carberry and a few overs at the end of the fourth and final day for their top bowlers James Anderson and Graeme Swann.

The tourists declared on 430 for seven when Stuart Broad was caught on the boundary, leaving Joe Root unbeaten on 58, and Australia A had made 119 for three when the rain descended to bring an end to proceedings at Bellerive Oval.

Batsmen Khawaja, Alex Doolan and Shaun Marsh were hoping for a chance to impress the Australian selectors three days before the squad for the opening test is named and enjoyed varying degrees of success when they finally got their chance.

Khawaja played three of the five tests in the first Ashes series of the year, which England won 3-0, but was dumped for the final match after managing to average 19 runs over six innings.

Any hope of a recall probably vanished when he left his bat hanging in the air in the face of an Anderson delivery and Root, standing in for Matt Prior behind the wickets, snaffled the catch. Prior left field with a tight left calf.

Anderson had earlier bowled Doolan for 31 and the England paceman finished with 2-20 from his seven overs. Off-spinner Swann (1-27) took the other wicket.

Marsh, who made 27 from 65 balls, and Callum Ferguson (15) were at the crease when the weather intervened for the final time.

Australia's need for a band of healthy batsmen in reserve, though, lessened a little when coach Darren Lehmann said there was growing confidence all-rounder Shane Watson would be fit for the opening test.   Continued...

Australia's Usman Khawaja leaves the field after being dismissed during the fourth Ashes cricket test match against England at the Riverside cricket ground in Chester-le-Street near Durham August 12, 2013. REUTERS/Philip Brown