Titans v England Performance Programme December 10, 2009

Denly double as tourists dominate

Cricinfo staff

England Performance Programme 425 for 9 (Denly 217, Tredwell 70) and 44 for 1 lead Titans 235 (du Plessis 124*, Shahzad 4-37) by 234 runs

Joe Denly's impressive 217 set up a dominant day for the England Performance Programme (EPP) as they hammered home the advantage against the Titans at the LC de Villiers Oval.

Denly has had a difficult time in South Africa until now, failing to make an impact his two outings in the Twenty20 series, but after rescuing EPP from 133 for six to end up 188 not out on day one, he reached 217 on the second morning before falling to Imran Tahir's leg-spin.

He struck for 26 boundaries and four sixes in his 295-ball stay and lifted EPP to 425 for nine before Andrew Gale's declaration put the Titans in.

It was an important innings for Denly, who lost his spot in England's one-day team to Jonathan Trott at the top of the order. Though Alastair Cook is England's established Test opener, there remain doubts about his ability to deliver against the best teams and Denly could be next in line if he falters.

Amjal Shazad, the Yorkshire paceman, and Sajid Mahmood then made inroads with a hostile new-ball spell. The Titans' top-three batsmen were all dismissed without scoring and three more wickets fell quickly as the Titans slipped to 60 for 6. They were rescued by a fine, unbeaten hundred from captain Francois du Plessis, who also plays for Lancashire. His counter-attacking 124 came off 162 deliveries and lifted the home side to 235.

Shazad cleaned up the tail to end with 4 for 37 while Mahmood's 3 for 51 was a timely reminder to the England selectors of what they could be missing in the Test series.

EPP took their 190-run first-innings lead up to 234 as they reached 44 for one in their second innings.