England start Ashes warm-ups with rain-hit squad game as Ben Stokes waits

The Guardian
The Guardian
Ben Stokes spent time working on his bowling as Haseeb Hameed and Rory Burns stayed at the crease at Wellington Point.

Ben Stokes’s return to action was delayed when rain halted play early in the second session of England’s first Ashes warm-up match in Australia.

Haseeb Hameed (53no) and Rory Burns (39no) had taken England to 98 without loss in an inter-squad game against England Lions in Brisbane.

Stokes was due to bat at No 5, having been out of the national team since July, when he took an indefinite break from all cricket to prioritise his mental wellbeing.

For the Lions, Matt Parkinson bowled three overs and will be hoping for a better chance to press his case for the Ashes squad as preparations continue with a four-day match next week.

With no wrist-spinner in Joe Root’s 17-strong party, the Lancashire bowler has everything to play for. There are plenty of England fans who would be happy to see him in the England squad for the series opener at the Gabba, particularly if the social media reaction to his initial omission is any indication.

“I guess I was slightly gutted not to get into the Ashes squad, but Twitter was funny that day … it felt like I was pretty popular for a while on there,” Parkinson said. “You do take it with a pinch of salt. I’m pleased to be out with the Lions but hopefully I can stay on.

“I’m not ruling it out and I think all of the lads would say the same,” the 25-year-old said. “The door is open and if we perform well in these matches, score a hundred, take a five‑for … who knows?
Joe Root watches on with Stuart Broad and James Anderson. Photograph: Chris Hyde/Getty Images

“Rooty has seen plenty of me because I bowled about 3,000 balls to him in the nets in India last winter.

“I’d like to show Joe [and the head coach, Chris Silverwood] that I’ve improved this year so they think ‘let’s keep him here’.”

Shane Warne is among those fighting Parkinson’s corner, but the English Test side’s thin recent record with leg-spin acts as counterweight to that buzz. “I don’t even know if Shane Warne has seen me bowl with a red ball, but it’s nice to see the press I’ve had from him,” Parkinson said.

“He was a superstar and everyone wants their own version. English people want leg-spinners to play Test cricket too … but there’s a disconnect. Maybe it would be easier now for me and Mason Crane if someone had come along and done consistently well.”

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