Hobart - The England team is concerned at the prospect of going into the Ashes
series opener underdone after a second day of their tour match against
Australia A was washed out on Friday.
Play was abandoned without a
ball bowled for a second day running with the forecast for further rain
in Hobart for Saturday's final scheduled day's play.
is a major hindrance to England's Ashes preparations with star players
Graeme Swann, Kevin Pietersen and Stuart Broad all yet to play on tour
and without a first-class match since August.
tourists haven't had the chance to get anything meaningful out of the
tour matches against the WA Chairman's XI in Perth and now against
Compounding the issues for England in Hobart is that
construction at the Bellerive ground has meant there are no indoor
facilities available for players to train away from the wet outfield.
if some play is possible on the final day, England must now rely on
next week's final pre-Ashes four-day tour match against an Invitational
XI in Sydney as their form gauge for the Gabba series opener.
England batting coach and former Test captain Graham Gooch admitted the situation in Hobart had left him concerned.
want to get some time in the middle, the bowlers want to iron out any
little flaws in their run-ups and get their rhythm," Gooch said.
is a game of rhythm whether you bat or bowl and certainly if you're
sitting in the dressing room you get that sort of malaise of just
"Your enthusiasm goes a little bit, so they do
need to be out there because time is short now, five playing days before
the first Test left and that's minimal, isn't it?"
abandoned days at Bellerive, the scoreboard still reads England 318
without loss, with skipper Alastair Cook unbeaten on 154 and Michael
Carberry on 153.
It hasn't been all bad news for the tourists with
batsmen Ian Bell, Jonathan Trott, Cook and Carberry all scoring big
hundreds so far on tour.
But it is a different proposition for the bowlers ahead of the first Test.
in Perth were flat and unhelpful for the quicks, and it's highly
unlikely James Anderson, Broad, Swann and Chris Tremlett will be able to
bowl on the final day against Australia A on Saturday.
plan was to rest their pace spearhead Anderson for next week's match in
Sydney, but now it seems he will have to play as part of a full-strength
attack in a tour match less than a week before the first Test starts on
Squad members not listed to play Australia A have
been travelling from Bellerive into Hobart to use the Tasmanian Cricket
But players required to remain at the ground in case play restarts have had nowhere to practise.
been to the indoor nets with a few players yesterday and today and no
doubt we'll be back there tomorrow if the rain stays around," Gooch
"It's okay there for the non-playing guys but the players
had to wait to see if the rain subsided and we could get out there. You
make the best of it but it's not ideal."