Ashes 2015: Australia beat Kent by 255 runs at Canterbury

Joe Denly
Kent's Joe Denly was bowled by Australia's Peter Siddle on the final day of the four-day tour match at Canterbury
Tour match, Canterbury, day four of four
Australia 507-8 dec & 322-4 dec: M Marsh 101, Watson 81, Clarke 47
Kent 280 & 294: Bell-Drummond 127, Claydon 53, Smith 3-54
Australia win by 255 runs

Australia won the first match of their 2015 tour of England and Wales as they beat Kent by 255 runs at Canterbury.

The tourists declared on their overnight score of 322-4, setting Kent the unlikely victory target of 550.

Opener Daniel Bell-Drummond frustrated Australia on the final day with an excellent innings of 127 off 112 balls.

The hosts collapsed from 193-3 to 233-8 before Mitchell Claydon made an entertaining 53 but it was not enough to deny Australia the victory.

Steve Smith ended with 3-54 from only 5.4 overs, while Ryan Harris and Fawad Ahmed took two wickets apiece.

The tourists will now play a four-day match against Essex, which begins on 1 July, before the first Ashes Test starts on 8 July in Cardiff.

It proved to be a perfect warm-up game for the Australians as Shaun Marsh, Smith and Mitchell Marsh scored hundreds, Chris Rogers, Michael Clarke and Shane Watson made half-centuries and the wickets were shared between all six bowlers.

After dominating the opening three days, Australia set Kent the challenge to bat out the final day.

Daniel Bell_Drummond
Kent's Daniel Bell-Drummond made a ton after being out without scoring in the first innings

The hosts looked like frustrating their visitors as 21-year-old Bell-Drummond, who has represented England at Under-19 level, hit three sixes and 21 fours in his third first-class century of the season.

However, Kent, bottom of Division Two of the County Championship, then lost five wickets for only 40 runs.

Claydon thrilled the Canterbury crowd with 53 off 27 balls but Kent were bowled out for 294 as the tourists made a winning start to their tour.

Afterwards, Australia coach Darren Lehmann insisted he is not bothered by England's four-day trip to Spain with new coach Trevor Bayliss, for which they departed on Saturday.

Asked what England can achieve on that pre-Ashes trip, Lehmann said: "I don't know, don't want to know. Don't care. I only worry about us.

"We've got to worry about how we're going to produce really good cricket in England because we haven't won here in 14 years. That's our focus - we're not worried too much about what England are doing."

Lehmann also conceded that it will be a "tight" decision between Watson and Mitchell Marsh for the all-rounder's place in Cardiff.

As at Canterbury, both players will feature in the game with Essex, for which Lehmann has already named his XI, making sure that all of the 17-man squad will have had a run-out before the Test series.

Batsmen David Warner and Adam Voges, reserve wicketkeeper Peter Nevill, pacemen Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood and spinner Nathan Lyon will come in for Shaun Marsh, Smith, Brad Haddin, Harris, Peter Siddle and Ahmed respectively.

Australia XI to face Essex: David Warner, Chris Rogers, Michael Clarke (capt), Adam Voges, Shane Watson, Mitchell Marsh, Peter Nevill (wk), Ryan Harris, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazelwood, Nathan Lyon.

England fixtures against Australia
1st Test: 8-12 July, Cardiff
2nd Test: 16-20 July, Lord's
3rd Test: 29 July-2 August, Edgbaston
4th Test: 6-10 August, Trent Bridge
5th Test: 20-24 August, The Oval
Twenty20: 31 August, Cardiff
1st ODI: 3 September, Southampton (day/night)
2nd ODI: 5 September, Lord's
3rd ODI: 8 September, Old Trafford (day/night)
4th ODI: 11 September, Headingley
5th ODI: 13 September, Old Trafford
Mitchell Johnson
Australia fast bowler Mitchell Johnson (centre) ended with match figures of 5-85