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December 12, 2013
England Performance Programme 2 for 220 dec (Robson 108*, Ballance 89) and 6 for 348 (Bairstow 123, Vince 69) beat Western Australia XI 8 for 319 dec (Armstrong 75, Harris 3-58) and 8 for 248 dec (Armstrong 99, Mills 3-19)
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Jonny Bairstow worked off some of his Ashes frustration with a century from the top of the order to set up victory for the England Performance Programme side as they chased down 348 to beat a Western Australia Second XI by four wickets with two overs to spare in Perth.
Bairstow shared a second-wicket stand of 144 with James Vince, who made 69, before falling for 123, but smooth unbeaten forties from Gary Ballance and Varun Chopra completed a heartening victory with 12 deliveries to spare.
It would be highly unusual for a player to be thrust into a Test even though by choice they had not trained with England on the eve of the match but both Ballance, who hit 89 in the first innings, and Bairstow both ended the match clinging to the faint possibility that they could force their way into the Perth Test.
The win represented a successful end to the EPPs' month-long stay in Australia, during which they also drew with a Queensland Second XI in Tim Bresnan's comeback from injury.
Western Australia, 6 for 167 overnight, declared at 8 for 248, James Harris ousting Tom Triffitt for 68 and Tim Armstrong for 99 after they had added 112 for the seventh wicket. Armstrong's departure with his century narrowly missed prompted a declaration as Tymal Mills, the Essex left-arm quick, returned an impressive 3 for 19 from 12 overs, a performance which has even invited unlikely speculation that he could be a Perth wild card even though he is not even in the squad
Bairstow dominated an opening stand of 70 with fellow Yorkshire batsman Alex Lees, who fell to James Boyland for 26. He then raised a 119-ball hundred in a matchwinning stand with James Vince, before he was stumped off former Australia spinner Michael Beer, the home captain.
The EPP survived a mid-innings collapse. Vince succumbed to Armstrong and Jos Buttler to Nathan Rimmington with the score on 234 before Ben Foakes and Moeen Ali went cheaply to Rimmington and Beer respectively.
That brought Ballance and the EPP skipper Chopra together with 85 needed and they held their nerve for 48 and 46 respectively with two overs of 77 remaining.
Ashley Giles, who has been leading the second half of the EPP tour, said: "Firstly the win is a really good win, chasing down 348 on what was a good wicket, but still pressure circumstances against a good side. It was a great way to finish the tour.
"It's also great to have two guys come down from the Test team in Ballance and Bairstow. They firstly produced the goods and they've been great ambassadors for the Test team and for England and they've added to the group."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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