Australia start their new era with a win at Sussex
Justin Langer’s men are looking to impress on English tour.
Marcus Stoinis’ century guided Australia to an underwhelming 57-run victory over Sussex as they returned to action for the first time since March’s ball-tampering scandal.
Stoinis pressed his claims for Australia’s number three slot for the five-match one-day series against England by blasting a pivotal 110 at Hove.
A tepid Australia performance will have frustrated new head coach Justin Langer and skipper Tim Paine however, with Sussex’s inaccurate batting blowing the chance for a famous victory.
Captain Steve Smith and deputy skipper David Warner were banned for a year over the ball-tampering incident in the third Test against South Africa that shamed Australian cricket.
Cameron Bancroft – who doctored a ball with sandpaper amid South Africa’s 322-run win in Cape Town – was also banned for nine months by Cricket Australia. Head coach Darren Lehmann quit amid the furore.
Australia will now use the upcoming England series as a charm offensive to curry favour after March’s ill-tempered Tests with South Africa, and this south coast warm-up clash passed by without controversy – but also with precious little top-drawer action.
Stoinis’ 110 guided Australia to a modest 277 for nine from their full allocation, the tourists fading to a coasting pace after a fast start.
Aaron Finch hit 78 at the top of the innings, before a middle-order wobble dented progress. Langer’s side lost four wickets for just 13 runs in 31 balls as Sussex finally found something approaching purchase in the field.
D’Arcy Short fell first, leg before to Danny Briggs, after notching 21 from 27 balls.
Australia turned that 74 for one into 167 for two as Finch took centre stage, only to depart just as he started to eye a ton, caught behind miscuing a pull off Jofra Archer.
Stoinis then kept his head while multiple partners threw away their wickets, Glenn Maxwell caught by Evans from Luke Evans’ bowling for just one run.
Briggs trapped Travis Head leg before for two, before skipper Paine was caught and bowled by Wells on the same score.
Ashton Agar was run out on 21, while Michael Neser edged behind off Chris Jordan.
Stoinis finally departed on 110 with Laurie Evans holding firm off Jordan’s bowling, with Archer then removing Jhye Richardson for 11.
Sussex’s reply started with calamity, Luke Wells run out with just one run on the board. Phil Salt refused a second run, but Wells reached the opposite crease before the run out was completed.
Short dropped Salt twice without score, and the Sussex star latched onto the second reprieve to blast to 53 in 33 balls – only to depart on 62, clean bowled by Kane Richardson.
Harry Finch notched 45 before being caught and bowled by Agar, and then Stoinis skittled Michael Burgess for six, with Sussex 139 for four.
Captain Ben Brown started brightly only to throw his wicket away too, miscuing a sweep to fall prey to Agar leg before for 17.
Laurie Evans hit his second six to reach 52 in 58 balls, only for David Wiese to depart for just three runs caught behind off Neser’s bowling. That left the hosts 192 for six in the 37th over.
Evans was stumped for 57, then Jordan run out for five. Andrew Tye clean bowled Archer for 10, then Abi Sakande had his stumps uprooted by Jhye Richardson.