Australia canter to Essex victory

  • Last Updated: June 26 2012, 22:09 BST

England's one-day international captain Alastair Cook was given plenty to think about at Chelmsford after Australia warmed up for their NatWest Series with a thumping 179-run win over Essex.

Michael Clarke: Top scored with 76

Australia captain Michael Clarke and David Hussey both made impressive half-centuries as Australia notched up 313 for nine.

Essex, with England duo Cook and Bopara in their ranks, were well off the pace in their reply and were all out for 134 in 32.4 overs, with Pat Cummins taking an impressive three for 26.

Cook's hopes of having a good look at Australia's bowling attack were ruined by Clint McKay in the fourth over of the Essex innings.

After an imperious shot to the cover boundary from the second delivery, he was despatched with the sixth as an intended drive was edged to Michael Clarke at first slip.

Cook's contribution was five from 15 deliveries and his removal from the scene more or less ended the county's hopes of maintaining a serious challenge.

Bopara, also set to turn out in the first encounter at Lord's, fared better and struck six fours until dabbing an easy catch behind off Shane Watson.

James Foster defied Australia for 36 balls while making 41 containing six fours but the 19-year-old Cummins was to have him caught by Stephen Smith at backward point, with the rest of the Essex line-up folding meekly.

Having won the toss and elected to bat, Australia's major batsmen all managed to get among the runs before Friday's duel against the old enemy.

Watson and David Warner produced an opening stand of 51 in just under seven overs before they departed for 33 and 26 respectively.

Warner drilled Graham Napier to Ryan ten Doeschate at midwicket while Watson was the first of Reece Topley's four victims when he was caught behind.

But it was skipper Clarke and Hussey who provided the backbone of the innings without looking in the slightest trouble.

Eschewing any risks, they found the gaps with ease while putting together a partnership of 137 in 20 overs.

That ended only when Clarke, having struck 76 in 73 balls with the aid of nine fours, decided to retire out to give others a taste of action out in the middle.

Hussey's innings of 67 from 66 deliveries, six of which he hit for fours, ended when he despatched left-arm spinner Tim Phillips to Bopara at deep cover, a dismissal that paved the way for Matthew Wade to inflict further punishment on Essex's toiling bowlers.

He helped himself to 47 from 43 balls, Napier finally bringing his innings to an end when Foster took a huge skier running towards square-leg.

Topley, the young left-arm pacemen, picked up four for 46 from eight overs to emerge as Essex's most successful bowler while Napier and Phillips each claimed two wickets.