Sunday, November 5, 2017

Ashes Build Up: England 349-6 at close v Western Australia XI

Mark Stoneman and James Vince were in the runs but skipper Joe Root was dismissed cheaply as England made a solid start to their Ashes tour in Perth on Saturday. Stoneman hit 85 off 113 balls while Vince compiled 82 off 129 balls as the tourists reached 349 for six at the close of the first day after winning the toss in their two-day game against a Western Australia XI. But Root fell for just nine and experienced opener Alastair Cook was out on the second ball of the innings in setbacks for the England team ahead of the Ashes series. Root looked annoyed when he was given out caught behind when it looked like the ball had flicked his leg rather than his bat. Stoneman fell 15 runs short of his century when he was picked up at second slip as he attempted to drive paceman Lance Morris.

England's James Vince plays a stroke during a two-day cricket match against a Western Australian X1 team at the WACA ground in Perth on November 4, 2017. Pic/AFP
England's James Vince plays a stroke during a two-day cricket match against a Western Australian X1 team at the WACA ground in Perth on November 4, 2017. Pic/AFP

That ended a 153-run stand for the second wicket with Vince, who was caught at mid-wicket off Aaron Hardie. "It was good to get that time in the middle," Stoneman said. "There was enough there to keep the opening bowlers interested with the new ball and there's that bit of extra bounce here, which always has the catchers in play.

"It was nice once we got through that new-ball period to settle in and get into some rhythm. "Cook and Root are the bankers -- it's a shame for them on a personal note but it gave other guys the chance to get time in the middle." Vince had a charmed life and gave three chances in his knock on 47, 63 and 67, twice at slip by Nathan Coulter-Nile and once at mid-wicket from a pull. Dawid Malan and Gary Ballance spent valuable time in the middle with Malan scoring 56 and Ballance 51, before they both retired to give others further down the order batting practice.

Malan was impressive in his time at the wicket. He stroked his first delivery through mid-off for four, and looked fluent on front and back foot and disciplined outside off stump. Jonny Bairstow (36) and Chris Woakes (25) guided the tourists to stumps. It was an underwhelming start to the Ashes tour for former captain Cook, who was out for a first-ball duck to Ryan Harris the last time he played at the WACA Ground back in 2013. Cook prodded at a good ball from Ashes Test pace aspirant Coulter-Nile just outside the off stump and nicked to wicketkeeper Calum How. Coulter-Nile proved a handful for Stoneman and Vince in his opening spell before they settled into the groove. Coulter-Nile, who finished the day with one for 43 off 16 overs, is attempting to force his way into the Australian squad for the first Test against England, starting in Brisbane on November 23. England decided to field 13 players in the tour match, with only Steven Finn (jarred left knee), Moeen Ali (side strain) and back-up wicketkeeper Ben Foakes missing from the 16-man touring squad.


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