Marcus North has made up the missing piece of our batting line-up for glimpses of form as he, like Mike Hussey, made a comeback in beautiful style!
The two men who play for WA, who were both struggling for runs, both experienced in English conditions and play a very important role in our middle order, have returned to form with centuries.
Huss, who ended day 2's morning session with 150, was followed on in the 2nd innings by his counterpart North, who is currently unbeaten (like Hussey was going into Day 2 on 143*) with 106*! It has been a relatively slow innings, but the pace has worked for well for him, and I hope this eases Marcus' mindset and that he can now focus knowing his abilities can provide us with some immense middle order batting power!
It may well give that extra bit of leverage for his part-spinning too.
I am very proud of both Marcus and Huss!
Michael Clarke (80) played a brilliant supportive role for North, but unfortunatly couldn't turn his 80 in triple figures.
In the first warm-up game Pup managed to be unbeaten on 75*, but the inning's he has just played will also prove alot too him as he came up against Steve Harmisson, one of Englands finest seam bowlers, and got some more time in the middle. Our Vice-Captain needed to step up, where our Captain Ricky Ponting hasn't performed in this match.
But, as a modern day great of the game maybe Punter's better days are away from him, but I still maintain the belief that should he find some big scores in the first two Test Matches of the Ashes, it may be an injection of confidence too demand some very strong leadership from the front.
Simon Katich made a start of 39, but was out before he could cause further damage to the Lions. I am very pleased with Katto's form and I do feel he has done the job.
Phillip Hughes is taking strain with the shorter ball, but like we saw in the 1st Test against South Africa, where the Proteas bowlers bombarded him with quick deliveries at the rib cage, wide off stump, down leg, he managed to counter-attack that in his preparations. If he sticks to his game plan, and gets to work on the shorter tactic Steve Harmisson threw at him - which I am sure the video analysts would have already picked up - Phillip should be able to adapt his game to ensure we have a good battle between himself and Mr. Harmisson, who is bowling brilliantly.
Phillip knows the scene after his Middlesex stint, and is more than capable at his position too rise above this one slightly bleak match!
James Anderson will more than likely be his partner with the new ball and the two of them in form will prove a challenge. But I have little doubt our boys can see it through!
276/4 is what the score is reading on cricinfo, and with Michael Hussey and Marcus North together at the crease on the final day of the match, I have seen enough promise from the player's to set us up for some intense preparations with many strengths and weaknesses identified from these two warm-up matches, which after all is what counts from them!
Great cricket from Marcus North and I hope himself and Huss can keep it flowing today and give our bowlers a chance for a bowling carnage.
With Brett Lee following up a 6-wicket haul (WITH NO NO-BALLS) and Stuart Clark picking up two wickets to ease is mind, and don't forget Mitchell Johnson, well it may be the final tick needed as we prepare for the 8th of July!
Still a day's cricket ahead folks, but plenty to take from these games.
If I know my team well enough, it hasn't been the most sensational of starts, but trust me when I say it is enough too set the benchmarks for the team and each player.
Let's get 'em boys!