Glenn Maxwell failed for the second game in a row, but the Australians were a much-improved side in their final warm-up fixture ahead of the one-day international series against England, starting at The Oval on 13 June.
Batting first after winning the toss against Middlesex at Lord’s, the Australians rode on Travis Head’s 106 from the top of the order to end on 283/6. Kane Richardson, Billy Stanlake and Michael Neser got among the wickets after that as Middlesex were bowled out for 182 in 41 overs.
The visitors had won their first tour game too – against Sussex, by 57 runs – but they looked rusty on the field and while batting then, and it was chiefly Marcus Stoinis’ century that took them to victory.
On Saturday at Lord’s, D’Arcy Short and Head gave Australia a solid start of 31 runs, Shaun Marsh and Aaron Finch did well to keep the middle order on track, and the pacemen – Stanlake especially – kept the Middlesex batsmen hopping around as Australia put in a more complete performance.
Short scored just 18, but he hit two powerful boundaries and a huge six before a miscued pull saw Nathan Sowter take a brilliant one-handed catch, leaving Short looking stunned.
That was in the fourth over, bowled by Tom Barber, who ended with 3/62, but Head and Marsh then batted together till the 30th over, taking the Australians to 145 in the process. Marsh hit 49 in 64 balls, with six boundaries, and after he fell to Max Holden, Maxwell followed, out lbw to Ravi Patel for 3. With the failure coming after he had scored 1 against Sussex, there might be a cause for concern there.
Head then found in Finch a most willing partner, and the two added 89 runs for the fourth wicket, Head going past his century along the way before falling for a 141-ball 106. His innings included nine fours.
When Head was dismissed, the Australians were on 239 in 45.1 overs, and that they added 44 more was mainly because of Ashton Agar’s enterprise. Finch departed soon after Head for 54, and Agar then took charge, hitting two fours in a 15-ball 20*, while Tim Paine, the captain, and Neser hit a boundary each as well.
Stanlake, on the field for the first time since fracturing a finger during his stint with Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League 2018, bowled with great pace and accuracy, and looked the part as he returned 2/45 in Middlesex’s chase.
Neser started the fall of wickets by pulling off a smart catch off his own bowling to send back Nick Gubbins and end the 48-run first-wicket stand with Holden, who top scored for the home side with a run-a-ball 71 with eight fours. Unfortunately for Middlesex, the 31s Hilton Cartwright and James Franklin, the imports, hit were the only other scores and substance.
Neser ended with 2/33, while Kane Richardson was the most successful of the Australian bowlers with 3/31. All of Agar, Jhye Richardson and Short also picked up a wicket each.