Invitational XI v England XI, Tour match, SCG November 12, 2013

Pietersen fit for final warm-up


Kevin Pietersen has been passed fit to play England's final warm-up match against an Invitational XI in Sydney following the cortisone injection he received to his right knee on Sunday.

Pietersen has only faced 10 deliveries in competitive cricket on the tour so far having sat out the opening match in Perth before falling lbw to Trent Copeland against Australia A. Even though he has rarely been a player to put huge value in warm-up matches - and particularly the runs scored - it is certainly a meagre volume of time to have spent in the middle before the first Test of an Ashes series.

He and the rest of the England team were forced to train indoors again at the SCG on Tuesday as the rain, which has hampered their preparations, continued to linger over Sydney although the forecast for Wednesday and Thursday is much improved.

However, England's opposition is getting weaker after batsman Adam Voges and left-arm spinner Steve O'Keefe were withdrawn from the side. Voges is suffering from a back problem while O'Keefe has been added to the New South Wales squad for their Sheffield Shield match.

Neither will England be at full strength with Matt Prior ruled out due to the calf strain he suffered against Australia A and which has left him doubtful for the first Test. Jonny Baristow will take his place and could yet find himself back in the heat of Test match battle after seemingly being left with endless 12th man duties.

Michael Clarke, relaxed and in good humour as Australia named their 12-man squad for the Gabba, used his press conference to 'announce' the England team saying he was convinced about the XI that will take the field. He listed the top seven including Michael Carberry as opener and Joe Root at No. 6, picked Prior (so the Australian captain is clearly confident over his fitness) and named Chris Tremlett as the third seamer.

"Now he [Cook] doesn't exactly know that yet but I know that's the eleven that is going to take the field in the first test so we can start our preparations as of today," Clarke said with a big grin. "I'm very confident that will be the eleven that England will play."

There is a good chance he will be proved correct about Tremlett after he faced Australia A while both Steven Finn and Boyd Rankin were left out. One chance could remain, most likely for Finn, to stake a last-minute claim for selection if England opt to rest James Anderson who has been the most impressive of the quicks in the build-up.

Three years ago Finn was a certain starter in the opening Test and took 6 for 125 in first innings before being dropped after the Perth Test which ended a run of 11 Tests. Since then he has appeared 12 times during what is becoming a stop-start career.

He was wayward against the Western Australian XI, conceding more than five runs an over through the match, and admitted it had left him playing catch up if he wanted to reclaim the Test place he lost after the opening Test of the series in England earlier this year.

"Perth wasn't ideal for me; I didn't bowl particularly well. But I thought I got better as the game went on," he said. "I've had some good nets since then. It's just about transferring that into the middle.''

"Going at five an over, still, in the second innings wasn't great. "That wasn't ideal for me. But I've put that under the carpet now; I've moved on and hope I've learned from that. I'm still a little bit of a way off. The proof of the pudding will be performances in the middle."

Possible England XI 1 Alastair Cook, 2 Michael Carberry, 3 Jonathan Trott, 4 Kevin Pietersen, 5 Ian Bell, 6 Joe Root, 7 Jonny Bairstow (wk), 8 Stuart Broad, 9 Graeme Swann, 10 Chris Tremlett, 11 Steven Finn

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • R on November 13, 2013, 11:08 GMT

    a very ordinary day after an ok start against a weak side… cook needs to replicate the same intensity inspired by strauss last visit… and quick… now the walking wkts of koala and hughes have gone that only leaves a couple and so eng will need to up their game immediately …

  • Dummy4 on November 13, 2013, 9:47 GMT

    Sorry in that last comment; I meant to say Anderson and Broad and not Finn and Broad. With no disrespect; Australia seem to like Finn's bowling.

  • Dummy4 on November 13, 2013, 9:44 GMT

    England are still very dangerous even if Finn and Broad are the only ones bowling well. I have a feeling Australia will need some stubborn partnerships to counter those 2; but once (and if) they do get through those 2 there should be plenty of runs for the taking with their 3rd seamer. Australia's middle order are quite well equipped to deal with Swan as they showed in the latter half of the series.

  • Neil on November 13, 2013, 9:14 GMT

    Should be an interesting test series. You have to wonder if giving England weak warm up competition and bouncy pitches will backfire on Australia. All it will do is fire them up knowing that Cricket Australia has tried to make things difficult for them.

  • Cameron on November 13, 2013, 8:54 GMT

    Serial denialists say this was a good day? England got smashed from 5/pretty-much-nothing, again. Finn going at nearly 4 an over, again. England failing to dismiss a mediocre batting lineup, again. Sounds like a good day. Hopefully they bat all day tomorrow and they spend the following two days playing cards in the sheds. I want a fair test series but I'm pretty tired of some of theses rediculous English comments, albeit them in the ninority. Do you mean to be annoying or are you in denial of that too lol?

  • Robin on November 13, 2013, 8:45 GMT

    These mind games seem to have worked - England pick Rankin and Finn, and not Tremlett because of it

  • richard on November 13, 2013, 8:36 GMT

    Finally England get a wicket that bounces above the knee roll, seriously when was the last time, UAE no, saffers at home last year maybe, India no, home last ashes no, Tasmania no and for the life of me they bowl, sure they are looking for a third seamer, but with Anderson, Broad and swans experience surly giving the rookie opener and rookie keeper along with out of form Trott and injured Pietersen a bat..... instructions for the invitation 11... bat all day again tomorrow please.

  • Sharyn on November 13, 2013, 8:18 GMT

    Front-Foot-Lunge Do you think they will be that happy. They had this 2nd string team at 5/93 and they are now 5/271 at stumps. The only bowler that looked good was Broad. Finn bowled garbage, Rankin was better than him though. Swann looked totally ineffective but our pitches aren't going to be prepared for him as they were in the recent Ashes. They should have had these guys out way before now. In saying that though, it will be interesting to see how the bowling attack goes. Totally inexperienced against international cricketers.

  • Mashuq on November 13, 2013, 8:17 GMT

    Thanks for the weather forecast, @Joseph Langford on (November 12, 2013, 20:03 GMT). Maybe Tremlett mightn't be a bad bet as third seamer given the conditions. Finn is like MJ - likely to leak too many and Cook would prefer to count upon guaranteed pressure from his 4 bowlers. Leaving Lyon out might be Clarke's best option if Watto won't bowl, given the kind of pitch it's likely to be. Accuracy from Ryano, Sidds and Faulkner with MJ the tear-away. Faulkner's batting at 8 might also be quite handy. So to answer you @ Englishfan on (November 12, 2013, 20:37 GMT), England will give Oz trouble on a green top, but I saw Clarke play a fabulous 151 against Steyn, Philander, Morkel and Kallis on a similar green top at Newlands 2 years ago. He may never again reach those giddy heights, but there is enough guts in the present line-up to fight it out and win (as they did v SA in the Wanderers test following the 47 all out disaster for which that Newlands game is mostly remembered). Bring it on!

  • j on November 13, 2013, 8:03 GMT

    Just the practice England were hoping for. Broad with top figures, Finn joining him. Anderson rested as both sets of fans know all too well what he does day in day out. England will be very pleased with today.

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