Graeme Swann led England XI to a smooth victory

England XI 9-413 declared (Tim Bresnan 105*, Graeme Swann 94, Tom Craddock 5-69) and 4-279 declared (Alastair Cook 82, Jonathan Trott 79, Craddock 1-59) beat Essex 278 (Jaik Mickleburgh 90, Craddock 31, Joe Root 4-72) and 186 (Mickleburgh 58, Hamish Rutherford 45, Swann 5-68) by 228 runs

England XI demonstrated a steady progress in preparation for the forthcoming Ashes series and defeated Essex aided by the prominent performance of Graeme Swann.

England XI piled up 413 runs before they declared their first innings after losing 9 wickets followed by 4- 279 in the second. Essex managed 278 runs in their first and 186 in the second innings.

Graeme Swann (England XI) was declared ‘Player of the match’ for his all-round performance in the game.

The four day LV = Challenge Match concluded on July 3, 2013, at County Ground, Chelmsford.

Graeme Swann - A brilliant all-round performance
Graeme Swann – A brilliant all-round performance

Earlier, England XI started the day four at 3-217 in 56 overs, Ian Bell and Jonny Bairstow were unbeaten at 12 and 10 runs respectively. The batsmen got off nicely by hitting 4 fours in the opening overs and Bairstow was gone for 28. Matt Prior walked in next and the score was enhanced to 279 in 71 overs when their innings was declared by the skipper Alastair Cook whereas Ian Bell and Prior held their end for 33 and 21 runs.

Tom Craddock and Boyd Rankin were the only successful bowlers among eight others with one wicket each.

Essex required 415 runs to win the match, they took off brightly and their innings was opened by Hamish Rutherford along with Jaik Mickleburgh. The latter was the most aggressive of the two and hit 5 fours until the 10th over while the score reached 49. The boundaries were flowing from the woods of the two batsmen and Rutherford dispatched the first six of the innings in the 18th over. The score was taken to 91 in 19.2 overs when Hamish Rutherford was clean bowled by Graeme Swann for 45. Owais Shah became the next victim without scoring any run and was replaced by their captain, Ravi Bopara. Jaik Mickleburgh smashed his consecutive fifty of the match with a four and that was his 15th First-class half century.

Bopara preferred to defend, he scored just five runs off the first 29 balls and hit 2 fours in the 31st over. Jaik Mickleburgh was caught by Cook off Swann for 58 off 91 balls with 9 fours as the total touched 128. The rival bowlers took command on the game as the batsmen found it hard to settle down. Ravi Bopara struggled during his stay at the wicket and was finally caught by Bell off Graham Onions for 33 from 65 deliveries with 4 fours. The middle and late order batting was unable to fight and the entire Essex team was bowled out for 186 after consuming 49.3 overs.

Grame Swann was the star performer with five wickets whereas Graham Onions grabbed four.

England XI clinched the one sided encounter with a wide margin of 228 runs and looks like being a formidable side to tackle Australia in the Ashes 2013.


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