Aussies 8-241 in Ashes tour game

Australia have been humbled in their Ashes tour game at Northampton, with the tourists set to concede a big first-innings deficit.

The three-day clash was supposed to be a tune-up for the fifth Test, which starts at the Oval on Thursday.

Instead it’s been a source of further misery for a squad that relinquished the urn last week.

Day one was washed out and day two was dominated by Northamptonshire, the locals scoring freely and quickly to compile a total of 396.

In response, Australia were 8-241 at tea on day three after captain-elect Steve Smith was out for a duck.

Mitch Marsh top-scored with 68, putting on a 69-run stand with Peter Nevill after a woeful top-order collapse of 5-74.

Both Marsh and Nevill had their stumps rearranged in the space of five overs.

Peter Siddle then fell for nine before Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon pushed Australia’s innings into a third session.

Cummins and Lyon have shared an unbeaten partnership worth 61 runs, and even that wasn’t without luck.

Lyon had a life on 17 when George Munsey put down a straightforward catch at point, while Cummins was dropped on zero by Josh Cobb at first slip.

The visitors resumed on Sunday at 1-13.

They continued to look a side low on motivation, playing a match devoid of meaning.

It started with Smith.

The 26-year-old will assume the captaincy after the fifth Test, but was leading the side in the fixture due as Michael Clarke was rested.

Smith lasted six balls before prodding at a delivery from Maurice Chambers, the resultant edge flying to keeper David Murphy.

Shaun Marsh and Adam Voges were also out edging, while Shane Watson was trapped lbw by Ben Sanderson.

It came against an inexperienced Northamptonshire attack, hardly a harbinger of hope for the tourists as they prepare to face Stuart Broad in London.

It’s not the first time the East Midlands town has been a source of angst for Australia.

Northamptonshire forced Don Bradman’s 1930 tourists to follow on, while Bishen Bedi’s left-arm spin helped them defeat Ian Chappell’s side in 1972.

Marsh, who is expected to be recalled for the upcoming dead rubber against England, ensured Australia at least avoided another embarrassingly low total.

The 23-year-old looked comfortable at the crease and struck 11 boundaries before attempting to drive another off paceman Richard Gleeson.

The allrounder had already underlined his importance to the XI with a haul of 4-56.

Coach Darren Lehmann admitted last week it was a mistake to leave him out of the XI that lost by an innings and 78 runs at Trent Bridge.

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