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November 6, 2010
Western Australia 8 for 242 dec and 1 for 109 (Robinson 46*, Swart 16*) lead England XI 8 for 223 (Pietersen 58, Broad 53*) by 128 runs
Kevin Pietersen struck a timely half-century but the rest of England's top order struggled against Western Australia in Perth and it needed Stuart Broad, following on from his three wickets, to form a counter-attacking stand with Graeme Swann to ensure they reached parity with the hosts. England's attack then struggled to make breakthroughs as the Warriors closed on 1 for 109, a lead of 128, with Wes Robinson unbeaten on 46.
England were in early trouble during the morning session as they slipped to 3 for 27 then, after Pietersen and Jonathan Trott added 61, they slumped to 7 for 117. The damage was done by the left-arm spinner Michael Beer, in just his third first-class match, and quick bowler Michael Hogan, but England's lower order ensured against embarrassment as Broad and Swann clubbed a stand of 64 in six overs before Andrew Strauss declared 19 behind.
The strength of England's lower order could be a vital component to the Ashes series - as it was during the 2009 contest - but they won't want to be bailing out the senior batsmen on a regular basis. Only Pietersen will be at all satisfied with his day's work after striking nine boundaries in 58 to suggest that his form is returning after his struggles over the last 18 months.
However, he was given a life on 25 when Luke Pomersbach couldn't hold a tough chance at second slip and then chipped Beer just over mid-off as he attacked the spinner. His dismissal, caught in the gully as he drove at Hogan, was part of England's middle-order wobble with Matt Prior (0) falling in the next over when he tamely drove Beer to short cover.
The day had started poorly for England when Strauss edged a back-foot shot to the keeper and James Anderson, the nightwatchman, was brilliantly held at second slip by Pomersbach after a painful 40-ball stay. Trott (24) had settled in at his own pace but, having worked hard to form a platform, he edged Beer to the keeper trying to force through the off side.
Paul Collingwood (4) was sharply snapped up by Marcus North in the gully, but Ian Bell started in positive fashion by launching Beer down the ground for six only to limply prod to slip for 21, which left England 8 for 159. After all the problems suffered by Australia in recent weeks, a batting collapse by the visitors won't go unnoticed, especially against a weakened attack which lost Steve Magoffin, who limped off with a knee injury in his sixth over.
Broad, whose first scoring shot went through the hands of first slip, and Swann responded with a flurry of boundaries - reminiscent of their merry slog at Headingley during the 2009 Ashes - with Broad reaching his fifty with a swept six off Beer. That shot led to the declaration and another chance for England's bowlers.
Second time around, though, there were no early scalps as Robinson and Liam Davis (43) added 77 for the first wicket. Steven Finn, who struggled in the first innings, eventually broke through when Davis was trapped lbw. That was England's only success as Robinson followed his opening-day 62 with another stubborn display and it's in Western Australia's hands as to how much of a second innings they want to give the visitors.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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