England Under-19s complete first Test win in Australia since 2003

England

England U19 314 (Singh 67, Hurst 55) and 254 (McKinney 70, Foreman 58*) beat Australia U19 268 (Singh 64, Anderson 53, Foreman 4-66) and 276 (Blackford 106, Kelly 5-69) by 24 runs

Ben McKinney, the England men’s Under-19s opener, said that his team had taken inspiration from Ben Stokes’ seniors after securing a first Youth Test victory in Australia since 2003.

England’s 24-run victory came on a tense final day in Brisbane, as Australia – 142 for 4 overnight, chasing 301 – were bowled out for 276 with the Hampshire seamer, Dominic Kelly, claiming figures of 5 for 69.

Kelly’s wickets included the crucial dismissal of Australia’s top-scorer Liam Blackford, who had reduced the deficit to 34 before he was ninth man out for 106, with McKinney himself claiming the catch that exposed the tail.

“We got ahead of the game and took a good initiative, which is how we want to play in every game,” McKinney said after the match. “We took a few risks, but we always felt we could bowl them out. We were pretty confident, and then we had a great finish on the final day.”

Despite the final-day tension, England had held the upper hand for much of the match. They secured a useful first-innings lead of 46, thanks to half-centuries from Harry Singh and Matthew Hurst and a four-wicket haul for Bertie Foreman, then pressed along at five runs an over in setting Australia’s target of 301.

McKinney, England’s white-ball captain, set the tempo from the top of the order with 70 from 45 balls, while Foreman’s unbeaten 58 from 59 balls at No.10 helped lift the total from a dicey 172 for 8 to 254 all out.

“It was quite tough early on, but the boys did well in the middle and worked hard for a good score,” McKinney said. “That first innings was the only score above 300 all match. Then we bowled them out in less than a day, which really helped us get some control. The way we went about it was pretty aggressive. We had good fields and our approach was different to what they wanted to try to do.

“We’re going to follow suit from the England Men’s senior team,” he added. “We’ve got the skill level already, but this approach also helps your skills to progress because you’re not worried too much: you’re just focused on your strengths. That’s the best way to play. The last time the men’s U19s won in Australia was 2003, and maybe this approach is the difference. I think our aggressive intent definitely helped us win this Test.”

England and Australia meet again in Brisbane next week for the second Test, before three ODIs and a T20I, and McKinney said the experience of the trip was already proving invaluable, ahead of a 2023 home summer in which he hopes to break into Durham’s first team.

“It’s been so good,” he said. “Obviously, the main goal was to win every single game, the next match is the next big test.

“It’s my first time in Australia and it’s a great place to be. But the tour is about winning. Our reaction when the last wicket fell showed that. But when we’re playing this way, it’s also helping us to socialise and get together as a team.

“The main thing I’ve learned to face is the length of time you’re away from home,” he added. “I’ve never been away for 35 days before. That’s the toughest part. You’ve got to learn when to switch on and when to switch off. While you’ve got to concentrate on your game, you’ve also got to know how and when to step away. It’s about keeping your confidence level high, and all the boys are doing that so far.”

England’s last Youth Test victory over Australia featured a team boasting five future international players – Ravi Bopara, Samit Patel, Luke Wright, Liam Plunkett and Tim Bresnan – who defeated their Under-19 counterparts by 14 runs in Adelaide.

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