Gauteng v England Performance Programme, Pretoria, 1st day November 30, 2009

Davies stars but Test candidates struggle

Cricinfo staff

Gauteng 311 for 6 (Mokoena 121, Burger 105*, Davies 4-56) v England Performance Programme

Mark Davies, the Durham pace bowler, outperformed his Test colleagues as the England Performance Programme (EPP) struggled on the opening day of their four-day match against Gauteng in Pretoria.

The EPP attack included Ryan Sidebottom, Liam Plunkett and Adil Rashid, who are all in the senior Test squad as well as Amjad Kahn and Steven Finn. Despite their experience they struggled to contain Gauteng as centuries from opener Grant Mokoena, who has played six first-class games, and captain Shane Burger propelled the home side to 311 for 6 at the close.

Davies was the stand-out performer taking 4 for 56 from his 19 overs. His Durham colleague Plunkett also impressed but while their progress is good news for England, Rashid's poor form continued.

His one over in the second Twenty20 international was dispatched for 25 leading Mickey Arthur, the South African coach, to criticise England for not showing enough faith in Rashid. Alastair Cook, who is captaining the EPP, used Rashid as his fifth option and the legspinner's 15 overs went unrewarded and cost 67 runs.

Sidebottom was economical but did not take a wicket, which will do little to shake off doubts that he has lost incisiveness after a series of injuries. The combination of Khan, who played a Test for England against West Indies in March, and Finn went for 137 from 22 wicketless overs as Mokoena and Burger made it a tough day in the field.

Mokoena reached his hundred from 150 balls and struck 19 boundaries along with a six before being trapped leg before by Davies. Burger notched his century shortly before the close off 165 deliveries and added 98 for the sixth wicket with Richard Cameron.