Aust target win in final Ashes tune-up

Selection showdowns abound, but Michael Clarke is more concerned about banking another win in Australia’s final Ashes tune-up.

The visitors thumped Kent by 255 runs in Canterbury, where Shaun Marsh, Mitch Marsh and Steve Smith all posted centuries.

They now face Essex in another four-day clash, starting in Chelmsford at 8pm AEST on Wednesday.

Ryan Harris will be looking to strengthen his case for a recall, but the veteran paceman faces stiff competition given the form of Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood.

A sore Shane Watson was unable to bowl in Canterbury and will need to shore up his place in the XI given the form of fellow allrounder Mitch Marsh on tour.

Opener Chris Rogers will also be keen to impress, as he seeks to return after missing the two-Test series against the West Indies due to concussion.

“There was a lot of positives that came out of the (Kent) game,” Clarke told Sky Sports.

“We won and that was really important for us as a team … to get a first win in the UK.

“It is a good start and now we have the opportunity to play against Essex, hopefully with the same result.

“I have always believed tour games are important to play to win – to get some momentum and confidence.

“And then to get individuals a bat, for them to have a bowl.”

Australia haven’t won an Ashes series in England since 2001.

Clarke, who has been a part of failed campaigns in 2005, 2009 and 2013, suggested there was little that needed to be said before the series starts in Cardiff on July 8.

“There’s certain times throughout our cricket calendar – you are employed by Cricket Australia and they ask you to tweet something or do more media to try and build a series up,” he said.

“Because it is competing with other sports around the world.

“With the Ashes, you don’t need to do that.

“The public and the media are going to build it up for you.”

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