Australia struck the first blow of this Ashes summer when the MCIS Academy, from Adelaide, defeated Lindal Moor Academy by just three runs at Pennington Lane last Sunday.

The game was organised by Muditha Maduwanthu, a former Lindal professional and was the final match of a tour that took in numerous venues, including a game against Leicestershire Academy.

On a fine day with a good batting pitch in front of them, MCIS won the toss and batted first. Their innings was held together by 69 from opener Footer, while O'Riley coming in at seven provided some late impetus with a run-a-ball 45, which took MCIS to a competitive 211 from their 40 overs.

Brad Stephens, fresh from 55 against Hawcoat Park in the league the day before, immediately took a liking to the Aussie bowlers, as he kept the scoreboard moving and brought up his century off 90 balls.

At 180-5, Lindal must have thought the game was all but won, but in typical Aussie fashion, the game was turned by the introduction of a leg-spinner. O'Riley took three quick wickets including the key one of Stephens who departed for an excellent 115 and Lindal collapsed to 188-9.

The last pair of Hadley Tunstall and Sammy Winskill hadn't given up and took the game into the last over with Lindal needing four to win. Sadly for them, Pledge bowled Winskill with the first ball it and the Aussies took the victory.

At the end of the game, Maduwantha said: "I've really enjoyed being back at Lindal and seeing old friends.

"Today's game was the closest one we had on tour and everyone has had a wonderful day. I'd like to thank Lindal for their hospitality and hopefully I'll be bringing a team back next year."

Lindal chairman Paul Clarke said: "We've really enjoyed today. It's been great seeing our juniors test themselves against different opposition. Big thanks must go to Col Knight who pulled together such a strong and well-prepared team.

"The Aussie's were especially complimentary about our fielding, which Col works hard on. We hope to make this a regular stop for Madu's sides but we'll have to look to the national team to do the business against Australia now."