More madness in Aussie cricket scrap
Australia's intra-squad clash was designed to help settle a raft of Ashes selection debates but the Southampton showdown has so far done little to help Justin Langer pick a top six, let alone a squad.
The opening day of the contest delivered a total of 17 wickets and plenty of concerns for coach Langer, who watched his Test stars and hopefuls struggle dearly with the bat on a dry pitch.
David Warner bucked that trend on day two, becoming the first batsman to reach 50 in the clash, while Alex Carey and Will Pucovski's 53-run stand was the highest of the game.
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Otherwise there were more of the same struggles on a day when 15 wickets tumbled as Mitch Marsh snared 5/34 to enhance his bid for inclusion in the squad, set to be named on Friday.
James Pattinson, a certainty to be in the squad, added to his compelling case for inclusion in next week's first Test by dismissing Marnus Labuschagne, Carey and Marcus Harris in a haul of 3/19 from 13 overs.
The match will end a day early, barring rain of biblical proportions, with Cameron Bancroft in the box seat to produce the most meaningful knock of the experiment.
Bancroft is unbeaten on 25 from 47 deliveries, having pushed his side to 2/35 in pursuit of its target of 156.
Bancroft was set to be left out of the touring party but would be hard to ignore if he emerges with a matchwinning dig under pressure, especially given so many batsmen fluffed their lines in the final audition for spots.
The combined score from the four innings is currently 32/430, with Steve Smith having logged scores of eight and nine in his first four-day outing since serving a year-long ban.
Test incumbents No. 4 Labuschagne, No. 5 Travis Head and No. 6 Kurtis Patterson all fell cheaply on the second day. Head and Patterson were trapped LBW for ducks, extending a miserable match for them that started with respective scores of one and two.
Marsh removed Head then cleaned up the tail with the help of Smith, who claimed a sensational one-handed slips catch to dismiss Mitchell Starc.
Warner exhibited the sort of dogged application that will be required if Australia is to win its first Test series in England since 2001 - up until a mistimed pull shot led to his dismissal on 58.