Michael Neser presses Ashes case with 'absolute ripper' hat-trick

Not content with smashing a 95-year-old County Championship record with the bat, Michael Neser proved he can impress with the ball too.

Michael Neser is pictured left, and on the right is highlighted celebrating his hat-trick wicket.
Michael Neser took a hat-trick in the County Championship, further pressing his case for selection in the Ashes for Australia. Pictures: Getty Images/County Championship

Australian all-rounder Michael Neser has once again pressed his case for Ashes selection in the County Championship, claiming a hat-trick on his way to an astonishing seven-wicket haul for Glamorgan. The 33-year-old had earlier broken a 95-year-old county record with the bat, but this time out showcased his ability as a fast bowler.

Test selectors are already facing a quandary regarding Australia's opening batting partnership, but will no doubt be buoyed by Neser's good form in English soil, with Cameron Green having only recently returned from injury in the IPL. Neser was on fire against Yorkshire at Headingly, finding a great deal of swing on his way to taking the wickets of Dawid Malan, George Hill and Dom Bess in successive deliveries.

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After trapping Malan LBW, Neser showed off just how much movement he was able to find by clean bowling both Hill and Bess. Neither of the two offered a shot before the ball cannoned into the stumps, such was the sheer amount of swing he achieved.

Just 11 players have taken a hat-trick for Glamorgan in their history in the County Championship, while Neser became the first to take a hat-trick in the competition since Robert Croft in 2010. Neser joked to Bess that it had been a 'pretty stuff' delivery to face on his first ball.

Speaking after the innings, with Glamorgan leading by 196 runs before rain halted play, Neser said he was disappointed to not be included in the Ashes squad, but conceded all he could do was continue top put his best foot forward. His figures of 7-32 marked a career best.

"It's disappointing not to be part of that squad, but I've got to look at the positives," Neser told reporters. "I'm playing cricket here, and if I do get called up I'll get ready to go.

"Having matches under my belt is far more important than bowling overs in the nets and not playing any games. From a squad point of view, it's probably best I'm playing games and being ready to go if the opportunity arises.

"It would be a special moment if I was selected for the Ashes squad in the back half."

Steve Smith makes debut in County Championship ahead of Ashes

Meanwhile, Steve Smith began his Ashes preparation on a high note, albeit drawing the ire of fans in the process after causing a nearly 10 minute delay. Batting at number five, Smith made 30 before being trapped LBW by Josh Tongue. He put together a 61-run stand alongside Indian star Cheteshwar Pujara.

He copped jeers from fans mid-way through his innings after the umpire stopped play because his helmet did not have the required stem guards attached. Fans grew impatient during the subsequent delay.

Steve Smith plays a shot for Sussex.
Steve Smith made 30 before being dismissed in his County Championship debut for Sussex. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

Smith had faced a dozen deliveries without scoring, but he duly took advantage from his 13th ball - short and wide from Ben Gibbon - to get off the mark by cutting for four. He looked to be warming to his work by clipping then pulling Tongue for leg-side fours but he was perhaps unfortunate the umpire's finger went up after being struck well above the knee roll while already on his toes.

It was left to Sussex captain Cheteshwar Pujara to score a fine 136 in Sussex's 373 all out. Worcestershire reached stumps on 1-34 - trailing by 75 heading into day three.

With AAP

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