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Swann shows some form against Chairman's XI

Graeme Swann sounded a warning to Australia's batsmen before the second Test but the bulk of his teammates will fly to Adelaide with faces as red as the desert sand after an underwhelming effort against the Cricket Australia Chairman's XI in Alice Springs.

The second Test may be the more pressing goal for Andy Flower's squad but the coach had every right not to see his team fall behind on the first innings against a team consisting of players shunned by their states.

Certainly, he would not have been waiting until the final ball of the innings and the 85th over for his reserve pacemen to pick up their first wicket.

No matter how much faith he has in Steven Finn, Boyd Rankin and even Chris Tremlett, who sat out the game, to come good this tour, there can be no doubting how heavily invested England is on senior pace duo James Anderson and Stuart Broad.

Rankin and Finn lacked penetration with the new ball, falling into the trap of bowling too short, and the unheralded opening pairing of Steve Cazzulino and Marcus Harris, who have three first-class centuries between them, were able to see out nearly 27 overs.

''The leg side is a strength of mine, so I didn't mind them bowling there too much,'' Cazzulino said.


Their stand of 78, better than anything England could manage, and the efforts of the lower order, led by 45 from Josh Lalor and an unbeaten 39 to Ashton Turner, enabled the home side to pass England's declared total of 7-212 with just as many wickets spare.

The Chairman's XI declared on 8-254. England was 1-47, losing Joe Root for 22, in its second innings when play finished. Finn was particularly concerning for England. On a pitch where runs have not flowed, he leaked four an over and was treated with disdain by the tail.

Rankin collected the only wicket by a paceman, while all-rounder Ben Stokes was marginally better than the frontliners though hardly eye-catching.

But it was not all doom and gloom for the embattled tourists. Five days before playing on the wicket expected to suit him most this series, Swann made a timely return to form, capturing four wickets.

On a pitch baked dry by scorching heat, Swann and Monty Panesar proved too cunning for their inexperienced opponents, though the chances of them playing any Test together this summer are slim.

Together, the pair claimed seven of the eight wickets, though it would take a major departure from Flower's conservative style should England line up with spin twins at the Adelaide Oval. But it could be a ploy worth considering, particularly after Australia's nightmare tour of India when it was befuddled by the finger spin of Ravi Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.

The Chairman's XI batsmen were clearly eager to follow the game plan implemented with such success by Australia's top seven in Brisbane, though lacked the skill to execute the strategy.

At least three of Swann's victims met their demise trying to hit over the top rather than through the guile and deception of the bowler.

But Swann, who prefers bowling to left-handers, removed only one right-hander, which could be a worry for England given Australia's top seven contains only two southpaws.

Panesar, the forgotten tourist, showed signs he was ready to answer his country's call if required, claiming 3-41 from 19 overs. His dismissal of Cazzulino was a beauty, bowling the opener after luring him down the track with a well flighted delivery that spun between bat and pad.

Sixteen-year-old Luke Doran did not seem out of his place during his time at the crease, surviving for 48 minutes to make 17.