Pietersen stirs England on day of improvement
England XI 4 for 256 (Pietersen 80*, Cook 59, Strauss 50) trail New South Wales 9 for 355 dec (Jaques 107, Katich 68, Clarke 50) by 99 runs
Three half-centuries to key batsmen provided England with their first good day of the tour, but there were concerns over Marcus Trescothick after he failed against New South Wales at the SCG. While Kevin Pietersen, Alastair Cook, Andrew Strauss and Andrew Flintoff gained valuable batting time, Trescothick fell for 8 when he played on to Brett Lee and the side was in more trouble at 3 for 95 when Stuart Clark struck twice in three balls before tea.
Experiencing a Test dress rehearsal from an attack including Lee, Clark, Glenn McGrath, Stuart MacGill and Nathan Bracken, England recovered from the damage and a strong partnership of 90 between Flintoff and Pietersen took them to 4 for 256 at stumps. The pair will have another chance to acclimatise on the third and final day, with Flintoff beginning on 48 and Pietersen resuming on 80.
Lee's early removal of Trescothick came after a series of short balls in their first exchange of a huge summer. Trescothick, who is returning from a stress-related illness, made 2 against the Prime Minister's XI on Friday and narrowly missed being removed by McGrath's first ball today.
While Trescothick struggled, his opening partner Andrew Strauss posted a confident 50 before he was caught and bowled by Clark, who thrust out his right hand to collect a sharp take, and he quickly picked up Ian Bell for a second-ball duck. Cook was welcomed by a Lee delivery at his throat, but showed his composure in an innings of 59 and then Pietersen began to blaze. Pietersen struck ten fours and two sixes in his 111-ball stay while Flintoff was also aggressive in an entertaining stand.
The tourists' hopes of getting a full match suffered an early blow when rain washed out most of the first session, but an extra hour was made up over the rest of the day. New South Wales, who resumed at 5 for 325, faced only 4.1 overs before lunch, but it was long enough for Steve Harmison to remove Moises Henriques lbw for 29. After the break Harmison also took care of Daniel Smith (45) to complete a return of 3 for 95, although he delivered numerous balls down the legside. James Anderson finished with 2 for 45 after picking up Bracken before Simon Katich's declaration.