Darwin: A dominating century by Sean Willis carried Australia to an easy 144-run victory in their Under-19 exhibition match against Papua New Guinea (PNG) at the Gardens Oval here Thursday.
However, the results of this friendly have no bearing on the current standings for the U-19 International Series where an unbeaten India currently sit comfortably in first place, followed by Australia with one win and one loss for the series, and New Zealand yet to put any score on the board.
After a dramatic batting collapse in Tuesday`s loss to India, Australia wouldn`t have been happy with their start this morning. A number of mistimed drives and forward defences from Australia`s top order had them sitting on a sketchy 71/4 at one stage.
Enter Sean Willis, who cut the first ball he faced for a well-timed four. It was the first of many boundaries for the powerful batsman in his brilliant 110 not out off 75 deliveries, including 12 boundaries and six sixes, as Australia stormed to 256/6 from 50 overs.
PNG bowler Kabua Vagi Morea ended with a fine 3/27 from his 10 overs.
In reply, PNG were cautious in their run chase. Openers Kiplin Doriga and Anthony Vare never looked settled and were dismissed in consecutive balls by Matt Kelly. While Kelly couldn`t convert the hat-trick opportunity, he ended with match-best figures of 4/18.
Wickets fell steadily through PNG`s innings with Riley Ayre (2/22) and Matt Short (2/4) picking up two each and singles to Gabe Bell (1/26) and Damien Mortimer (1/5) helped the hosts bowl out PNG for 112 in 39 overs.
This was PNG`s last exhibition match as part of the U-19 International Series and they now look ahead to their qualification tournament later this month on the Sunshine Coast for next year`s U-19 ICC World Cup.
Round 4 will get underway Saturday with Australia set to play New Zealand at Marrara Oval while India has a bye.