Bell, Carberry seize chance to show form
England XI 2 for 270 (Carberry 78, Bell 77*) trail Western Australia Chairman's XI (Turner 62*) 5 for 451 dec. by 181 runs
Ian Bell wasted no time in hitting his straps in Australia, resuming where he left off in the previous Ashes, and Michael Carberry seized on the chance afforded to him by Alastair Cook's absence as England put up a solid display in their first innings of the tour.
Bell closed the second day at the WACA unbeaten on 77 with Jonathan Trott on 64 as England reached 2 for 270. The warm-up is heading for a draw as England trail Western Australia by 181 runs after the home side declared in the day's first session at 5 for 451.
Bell was quickly back into the form that saw him named Man of the Series in the Ashes in England and Carberry demonstrated that England have a competent opener should they need to make a change at the top of the order.
While Carberry grasped the opportunity to make runs on a good batting wicket, Joe Root, yet to convince as an opener in Test cricket, missed out. He is the only batsman dismissed in the game so far not to reach a half-century.
Each of the five WA batsmen dismissed in their innings made it to at least 50, highlighted by Chris Lynn's entertaining 104. But Root managed only 36 from 60 deliveries before he was trapped lbw by Glamorgan allrounder Jim Allenby.
Root shared in a 100-run opening stand with Carberry, who was the more aggressive of the pair. Carberry made 78 before he slashed at a short and wide delivery from spinner Ashton Turner and was caught by Allenby at backward point.
Carberry, 33, has played just one Test for England, against Bangladesh in 2010 and is thought unlikely to start the Ashes barring injury. But finding form will put pressure on Root - who was recently awarded a central contract - to deliver as well as put another name in the mix for the middle order. He still has a possible two further four-day games, in Hobart and Sydney, to spend some time in the middle before the first Ashes Test starts in Brisbane on November 21.
But it was Bell who again suggested he could be the key to England's chances of claiming a fourth consecutive Ashes series for the first time since 1890.
He enjoys playing against Australia. In the recent Ashes series in England he was the difference between the two sides, leading the scoring with 562 runs at an average of 62.44. In the 2010-11 series in Australia, he was also crucial to the tourists' success, scoring 329 runs in six innings, at an impressive average of 65.80. Only Cook (766 runs at 127.66) and Trott (445 at 89.00) averaged more in that series.
Trott was in no hurry in his first innings on tour, bringing up his 50 in 101 balls, compared to Bell, who took only 71 deliveries to bring up his half-century.
After turning six starts into just two half-centuries against Australia in England this year, Trott appears keen to spend as much time in the middle in the lead up to the Test series to help improve on his tally of 293 runs that he contributed the last time the two sides met.
After Bell bought up his milestone he belted former Australia spinner Michael Beer and Turner for big sixes. He looked comfortable at the crease from the first ball and hit two fours in the first over he faced and was confident in leaving balls alone that were passing close by his stumps.
WA were hampered by the loss of opening bowler Burt Cockley, who left the ground half-way through his third over with a knee injury. He wasn't the only fielder from the home side forced from the ground, after keeper Tom Triffitt was hit in the face by a ball from Beer that appeared to bounce unexpectedly high. He required six stitches.
England's bowlers had earlier struggled for a second consecutive day, managing to take only one more wicket before WA declared. The hosts added 82 runs to their overnight score in 18 overs with Turner unbeaten on 62, meaning that each of WA's top 6 batsmen made half centuries.
Allenby took his overnight 34 to 53 before he was trapped lbw by Steven Finn in the 10th over of the day, Finn's first. Unfortunately, it failed to inspire Finn, who bowled five overs for 36 runs, finishing with 1 for 123 from 23 overs in the innings. But he will still consider himself very much in the mix for the vacant fast bowling position in the Brisbane Test, as his competition was not much more impressive.
Chris Tremlett took up the attack this morning and bowled only four over for 17 runs, while Boyd Rankin's final contribution was 1 for 92 from 20 overs.
James Anderson was easily the pick of the England attack, conceding only 55 runs in 23 overs, bowling nine maidens. But he managed just one wicket on a deck that is offering the bowlers little.