Three-wicket haul boosts Overton's case for Ashes call-up
DEVON'S Craig Overton pressed his claims for an Ashes call-up with three wickets in a hurry as England wrapped up a 192-run won over Cricket Australia at the Adelaide Oval.
The success in England’s penultimate Ashes warm-up fixture, against opponents they will face again in Townsville next week, was powered by two more half-centuries from opener Mark Stoneman and a crucial one from Jonny Bairstow.
Chris Woakes, James Anderson and Overton also went through the gears to share all 10 second-innings wickets as the hosts lurched first to 25 for seven under lights against the pink ball and eventually 75 all out in 40.1 overs.
No one, however, could credibly argue this performance was anything more than broadly efficient from Joe Root’s men - and one too that fostered doubt and qualified optimism in equal measure.
England’s second-innings collapse of four wickets for three runs to falter to a vulnerable 124 for seven, before Bairstow came to the rescue, and Jake Ball’s ankle injury are both areas of obvious concern.
Devonian Overton did not seek to hide away from those truths, as he reflected on his individual and England’s collective showing - while CA coach Ryan Harris was happy to point out that the tourists’ batting is ‘vulnerable’ and lynchpin opener Alastair Cook is looking ‘rusty’.
Overton finished with figures of three for 15 in the innings and four for 55 in the match as England made predictably short work of the last three wickets after CA resumed on 70 for seven on Saturday.
The Somerset seamer has been improving by the innings on this tour - which is more than can be said for his batting sadly, after a pair going in at number eight.
He said: “Second innings, it didn’t quite go to plan under the lights and overcast skies for us (with the bat), but the way we bowled last night showed what you can do with the pink ball.
“Then to come back this morning and finish it off pretty quickly was nice.”
Asked if he has put himself in line for a Test debut in Brisbane this month, Overton said: “I’d like to think so, but I’ve still got a bit of work to do.
“I’m getting there. It’s just finding that rhythm.”
The absence of Ball until that first Test at least - Lions left-armer George Garton has been called up as cover - has increased Overton’s chances for the Gabba, and the workload of the remaining seamers.
He added: “There’s always massive pressure on the bowling unit anyway - even if we had everyone fully fit ... so the people who are fit are going to have to step forward.”
Ball’s absence is a result of his fall in delivery stride on day two here, scans revealing a ligament strain in his right ankle.
Overton reports his fellow seamer may not be out for too long, though.
“He’s feeling good,” he said.
“From what I heard yesterday, it is sort of a week to 10 days ... we hope it will be a bit quicker, but we’re not entirely sure yet”