Invitational XI v England XI, Tour match, SCG November 14, 2013

Pietersen finds form in lively knock

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England XI 5 for 302 (Trott 84, Cook 81, Pietersen 57) trail CA Invitational XI 304 (Carters 94*, Nevill 83, Cowan 51, Finn 5-103, Broad 4-37) by two runs
Scorecard

About 40 minutes into his first substantial innings on tour, Kevin Pietersen decided he was ready for the Gabba. This is not known because he told anyone, but because at that point he began to treat England's final warm-up before the first Ashes Test as the sort of social match where umpires chug beers, fielders traipse on and off at their leisure and the making of big scores is less important than the settling of old ones.

Pietersen's belligerence took the form of playing a shot a ball, including reverse sweeps, airy slogs and steel-wristed drives. It coincided with the introduction of the young Victorian wrist spinner James Muirhead, a pupil of Shane Warne who drank in the experience of twirling the ball down at England's No. 4, now moving freely following a cortisone injection to alleviate chronic knee pain. The SCG Members Stand was pelted with several angry shots, as fielders scurried to cover both sweet hits and sour misses.

Muirhead eventually had his man, coaxing a slog that was well held by the substitute Daniel Hughes at long-off, and also snared Ian Bell, snicking an expansive drive. But Pietersen had shown that, as England wrestle injuries, a preparation interrupted by weather and a vexing choice for the third seam-bowling spot, they can be reassured their most destructive batsman's sense of brio is perfectly intact.

"Before the game I said to the boys I really wanted to bowl to him, he plays spin really well and I knew he'd come hard at me," Muirhead said. "I know I got hit for a few sixes but I was just enjoying the moment, and to get him out was really satisfying. It was pretty daunting bowling to him but as a legspin bowler you've got to accept getting hit for sixes, stick at it, be confident and sometimes you get the rewards like today."

This lively interlude arrived towards the end of a day that had otherwise gone smoothly enough for the visitors, as Stuart Broad, Steven Finn and Boyd Rankin combined smartly to wrap up the Invitational XI for 304, a happily cheap tally for Alastair Cook after they resumed at 5 for 271. Broad found a fine away-bender first ball of the morning to deceive Ryan Carters and, after Rankin claimed his first wicket of the innings, Finn scooped up his fifth.

Andy Flower, the team director, is now left to ponder a choice between the Rankin's bounce and economy, Finn's more expensive wickets and Chris Tremlett's Australian experience, now three years distant. Finn also has past memories of facing Australia but they have grown less happy with each successive match, concluding on the disdainful treatment meted out to him by Brad Haddin on the fevered final morning of the Trent Bridge Test.

One decision has already been made by Flower, calling in Michael Carberry to open with the captain Alastair Cook while moving Joe Root down the order. Their 318-run union in Hobart made a briefer stand seem likely in Sydney, and so it was that Carberry snicked a decent-enough ball from Josh Lalor through to Peter Nevill having made only 4.

Cook then settled down in the company of Jonathan Trott, and for 143 runs they were almost entirely untroubled. The scoring rate was brisk, the strokeplay assured and the strike rotation busy, and everyone at the ground was surprised when Trott reached out to edge Lalor behind and had to walk off. He did so as slowly as Shane Watson post hamstring injury, demonstrating a disappointment with self that suggested his mind has moved into its steeliest Test match mode.

A few overs later Cook was to be similarly disappointed about not going on well beyond three figures, hanging his bat out at Nic Bills and also offering a catch to Nevill behind the stumps. Nonethless, the wickets allowed Pietersen and Bell to have time in the middle, something they enjoyed before each falling to overly extravagant strokes. Muirhead was delighted to have dismissed Bell and Pietersen, having learned about both from Warne, his sometime mentor.

"It was a great privilege to get them out," Muirhead said. "I'd grown up watching these blokes play cricket, especially in the Ashes, and playing on the SCG for the first time it's known to suit spin bowling. It was good to get Bell out because I know Warney always got him out for fun, it was a pretty exciting moment.

"Warney's advice is nothing about skill, but more mentally, coming up against someone like Pietersen you've got to be mentally strong, back yourself all the time. You know you can bowl good balls so it was more about staying focused and being confident in yourself."

Once the excitement subsided, Root and Bairstow played out the day, showing a far greater conservatism than the senior men who had preceded them. This was wise, for they are beginning a middle order axis that may be just as crucial to England's chances in the Ashes as Pietersen's well-developed sense of daring.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on November 15, 2013, 9:43 GMT

    @Optic: I'm not one of the ones that's been posting Tremlett is down on pace - I just thought 81-83 mph (as claimed by liamhsiemllac) sounded a bit low, and usually what smart bowlers bowl at in U.K. conditions to make use of swing and seam. I get the impression he's been holding back in the warm-ups, but the danger of that is (in my opinion) he's slipped behind Rankin and (especially) Finn-knee now in the pecking order for that last bowling slot.

    Finn-knee would the get the nod from me if I was selector, but who knows what the real selectors will do and they might have seen something more promising in one of the others that I've missed (or ignored). Depending on what happens with batsmen (Prior & KP fitness for example) - we might even see Stokes get a game or two to bolster the lower-order batting!

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on November 15, 2013, 9:29 GMT

    @Front-Foot-Sponge (post on November 14, 2013, 21:23 GMT): I ain't going to correct you because to be honest I don't know and don't care about pace. England have already got Broad, who showed in the last few games of the last Ashes series what he can do on flat tracks with no movement through the air; Australia have got MJ as you say, and don't forget Lyon as well... Oh wait, he's the spinner. It's accuracy, consistency and bowling plans to each opposing player that will win more games, not simply which team bowls faster.

  • poms_have_short_memories on November 15, 2013, 9:27 GMT

    @FFL a near full strength English XI in front of a shield 2nd XI on points, you must be salivating.

  • Jaffa79 on November 15, 2013, 8:01 GMT

    @ Lyndon McPaul thanks for the warning about the great quality of the Aussie Test line up! Since England were 15 minutes away from 4-0 and Aus haven't won a Test in 9 attempts, I am sure England are aware of the quality of the formidable Aussie Test line up. Thanks though. There is no escape from a Mitchell Johnson bumper? Why uis everyone talking up Johnson? Cook and Carberry might get a workout I agree but then again...so could Brad Haddin! If you guys had an erratic MJ bowling and Wade keeping, I think extras would get a ton at least!

  • dunger.bob on November 15, 2013, 8:01 GMT

    I agree that England has probably been able to squeeze enough practice out of this weather affected run in to the first Test. As they rightly say, every ones had a decent hit and/or bowl.

    It's much the same with the Aussies. All the batsmen have made some runs, though Bailey and Clarke might both have liked a few more, and the bowlers have been working away steadily.

    It's looks to me as though we're all set to go.

  • Optic on November 15, 2013, 6:39 GMT

    I don't know how many other England and Aussie fans have had to endure watching this wam up game on CA site but to say it was dire was an under statement. One camera from each end that looked like it was filmed on a 80's camcorder. England will be pleased though, warm ups are a bit of a hiding to nothing anyway and all you can do is get time in the middle and overs under you're belt. All the England boys dd that this game except Carberry and even though the bowling wasn't world class it was disciplined from Tremaine Lalor and Bills. Trott was excellent, along with Cook but KP was something else. He obviously took his time at the start to play himself in and then we saw every shot in the book, which is always good to see. Not being unfair to the Aussies but most of the dismissals were down to either over attacking KP & Bell, or losing concentration Cook and Trott, which can be expected in a warm up. Broad & Anderson look in great rhythm and Finn has had a few good spells, with a 5fer

  • Optic on November 15, 2013, 6:18 GMT

    @Front-Foot-Sponge It will be interesting to see how fast Johnson bowls in the test matches, last time I watch hi bowl in a test he was around 87mph. We've seen with Finn that he bowls well over 90mph in one day games but in tests he's a touch slower 87-89mph. Obviously bowling 10 overs in 3 spells is so different to bowling 20 -25 overs in a day. If Rankin plays he's another 90mph bowler and as you say Broad's picked his pace back up after his heeling injury problems. Harris , Siddle and Anderson generally operated in the mid 80's and were the better bowlers. Maybe that tells us something about bowling out and out fast.

  • Optic on November 15, 2013, 6:06 GMT

    @indiasucksgobd I'd like to know what most of the other teams in the world have got if England have a weak batting line up. They have 6 of their top 7 all average over 40 including the keeper, 4 of which average over 47 Cook, Trott, Bell and KP with 77 test match ton between them. Just Carberry who obviously has only played one test is a bit of a unknown. I'd love to know how that's a weak batting line up, even relatively speaking. You don't win as many test and series over the years having a weak batting line up , or bowling for that matter.

  • Optic on November 15, 2013, 5:48 GMT

    @ R_U_4_REAL_NICK This Tremlett has lost pace is a myth. Go and watch some of the DVD's if you've got them of the 2010/11 Ashes and he bowled a consistent 133/35kph, which is low 80's. The other day when I was watching him in the 2nd warm up game, he bowled around 130/132kph and that was in a warm up game. Tremlett's never used pace to get wickets , he's used his accuracy and bounce and from what I saw from his overs the other day where he bowled with Anderson, he's still got it. He bowled just that 8 overs but went at 2.8 rpo and could have had a number of wickets if the play and misses would have been closer. I do agree that Finn just picks up wicket and always has done, he can be loose at times but when he gets into a groove he can be devastating.

  • on November 15, 2013, 2:45 GMT

    I was at the SCG watching the game, and I must say once the England batsmen got through a scratchy first few overs, they all looked in excellent touch. And that's not because of the bowling line up either - Lalor was superb and I expect to hear much more from him in coming years. I think the biggest difference between the two teams currently is the difference in Ashes winners in each squad. England have roughly 13 Ashes winning cricketers in their squad and Australia have 1... That experience of winning games could be crucial in the coming months.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on November 15, 2013, 9:43 GMT

    @Optic: I'm not one of the ones that's been posting Tremlett is down on pace - I just thought 81-83 mph (as claimed by liamhsiemllac) sounded a bit low, and usually what smart bowlers bowl at in U.K. conditions to make use of swing and seam. I get the impression he's been holding back in the warm-ups, but the danger of that is (in my opinion) he's slipped behind Rankin and (especially) Finn-knee now in the pecking order for that last bowling slot.

    Finn-knee would the get the nod from me if I was selector, but who knows what the real selectors will do and they might have seen something more promising in one of the others that I've missed (or ignored). Depending on what happens with batsmen (Prior & KP fitness for example) - we might even see Stokes get a game or two to bolster the lower-order batting!

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on November 15, 2013, 9:29 GMT

    @Front-Foot-Sponge (post on November 14, 2013, 21:23 GMT): I ain't going to correct you because to be honest I don't know and don't care about pace. England have already got Broad, who showed in the last few games of the last Ashes series what he can do on flat tracks with no movement through the air; Australia have got MJ as you say, and don't forget Lyon as well... Oh wait, he's the spinner. It's accuracy, consistency and bowling plans to each opposing player that will win more games, not simply which team bowls faster.

  • poms_have_short_memories on November 15, 2013, 9:27 GMT

    @FFL a near full strength English XI in front of a shield 2nd XI on points, you must be salivating.

  • Jaffa79 on November 15, 2013, 8:01 GMT

    @ Lyndon McPaul thanks for the warning about the great quality of the Aussie Test line up! Since England were 15 minutes away from 4-0 and Aus haven't won a Test in 9 attempts, I am sure England are aware of the quality of the formidable Aussie Test line up. Thanks though. There is no escape from a Mitchell Johnson bumper? Why uis everyone talking up Johnson? Cook and Carberry might get a workout I agree but then again...so could Brad Haddin! If you guys had an erratic MJ bowling and Wade keeping, I think extras would get a ton at least!

  • dunger.bob on November 15, 2013, 8:01 GMT

    I agree that England has probably been able to squeeze enough practice out of this weather affected run in to the first Test. As they rightly say, every ones had a decent hit and/or bowl.

    It's much the same with the Aussies. All the batsmen have made some runs, though Bailey and Clarke might both have liked a few more, and the bowlers have been working away steadily.

    It's looks to me as though we're all set to go.

  • Optic on November 15, 2013, 6:39 GMT

    I don't know how many other England and Aussie fans have had to endure watching this wam up game on CA site but to say it was dire was an under statement. One camera from each end that looked like it was filmed on a 80's camcorder. England will be pleased though, warm ups are a bit of a hiding to nothing anyway and all you can do is get time in the middle and overs under you're belt. All the England boys dd that this game except Carberry and even though the bowling wasn't world class it was disciplined from Tremaine Lalor and Bills. Trott was excellent, along with Cook but KP was something else. He obviously took his time at the start to play himself in and then we saw every shot in the book, which is always good to see. Not being unfair to the Aussies but most of the dismissals were down to either over attacking KP & Bell, or losing concentration Cook and Trott, which can be expected in a warm up. Broad & Anderson look in great rhythm and Finn has had a few good spells, with a 5fer

  • Optic on November 15, 2013, 6:18 GMT

    @Front-Foot-Sponge It will be interesting to see how fast Johnson bowls in the test matches, last time I watch hi bowl in a test he was around 87mph. We've seen with Finn that he bowls well over 90mph in one day games but in tests he's a touch slower 87-89mph. Obviously bowling 10 overs in 3 spells is so different to bowling 20 -25 overs in a day. If Rankin plays he's another 90mph bowler and as you say Broad's picked his pace back up after his heeling injury problems. Harris , Siddle and Anderson generally operated in the mid 80's and were the better bowlers. Maybe that tells us something about bowling out and out fast.

  • Optic on November 15, 2013, 6:06 GMT

    @indiasucksgobd I'd like to know what most of the other teams in the world have got if England have a weak batting line up. They have 6 of their top 7 all average over 40 including the keeper, 4 of which average over 47 Cook, Trott, Bell and KP with 77 test match ton between them. Just Carberry who obviously has only played one test is a bit of a unknown. I'd love to know how that's a weak batting line up, even relatively speaking. You don't win as many test and series over the years having a weak batting line up , or bowling for that matter.

  • Optic on November 15, 2013, 5:48 GMT

    @ R_U_4_REAL_NICK This Tremlett has lost pace is a myth. Go and watch some of the DVD's if you've got them of the 2010/11 Ashes and he bowled a consistent 133/35kph, which is low 80's. The other day when I was watching him in the 2nd warm up game, he bowled around 130/132kph and that was in a warm up game. Tremlett's never used pace to get wickets , he's used his accuracy and bounce and from what I saw from his overs the other day where he bowled with Anderson, he's still got it. He bowled just that 8 overs but went at 2.8 rpo and could have had a number of wickets if the play and misses would have been closer. I do agree that Finn just picks up wicket and always has done, he can be loose at times but when he gets into a groove he can be devastating.

  • on November 15, 2013, 2:45 GMT

    I was at the SCG watching the game, and I must say once the England batsmen got through a scratchy first few overs, they all looked in excellent touch. And that's not because of the bowling line up either - Lalor was superb and I expect to hear much more from him in coming years. I think the biggest difference between the two teams currently is the difference in Ashes winners in each squad. England have roughly 13 Ashes winning cricketers in their squad and Australia have 1... That experience of winning games could be crucial in the coming months.

  • reddawn1975 on November 15, 2013, 1:04 GMT

    I think its going to be a great series of cricket i hope Australian selectors are keeping a close eye on young Zampa he may become a very good bowler he has great control

  • landl47 on November 14, 2013, 23:42 GMT

    Given that England has only had 3 innings on this tour so far, the batsmen have really prepared as well as could possibly be expected. All the top 6 have at least one 50, four of them have hundreds (and they were all undefeated) and all of them have looked in pretty good form, albeit against bowling that has been some way short of test class.

    The bowlers haven't fared as well, but at least in this game they have looked a bit better. Broad and Anderson have begun to round into form and based on this match it looks as though Finn is starting to find some rhythm. Swann has kept it tight and since it seems that Australia is preparing non-spinning wickets (understandably; if it spins, they lose) keeping it tight and picking up the odd wicket will probably be Swann's role in this series.

    Pre-series form doesn't mean much, but England look better prepared for this series than they did for the disaster against Pakistan. Let's hope so, anyway.

  • Munkeymomo on November 14, 2013, 23:35 GMT

    I always enjoy watching the Australian Ashes more (probably a hangover from being younger and excited about staying up late). Can't wait until the first test. I'm hoping Australia win the toss at the Gabba and bat. England have batted first in the last 3 series.

    Plus, if the first ball goes to 2nd slip I can go to bed.

  • on November 14, 2013, 23:27 GMT

    Prepare for a big step up England! So far on this tour your batsmen have not experienced the real steep bounce and electric pace that wickets like the Gabba, WACA and MCG can tradtionally produce. Also; the highest quality bowling that England have had to face is from Ben Cutting who would be more than an adequate support bowler but a significant step down in overall quality from the strike capability of Ryan Harris and a good 15+km's down in speed from the menacing and inform Mitchell Johnson. The most crucial thing for Mitch Johnson in my opinion is not the accuracy of the fuller swinging deliveries though they can be handy but whether his short stuff finds it's mark. There is simply no escape from a well directed Mitch bumper with the angle of his slinging left arm. Australia's inform openers also need to sharpen up to see off an inform Anderson and Broad but should take heart in the knowledge that they have done it before. Looking forward to see a rejuvenated Siddle as well!

  • on November 14, 2013, 23:26 GMT

    @RU4RealNick and @Speng - I'd also have taken Onions in the squad instead of one of the tall pacers, and haven't watched Tremlett bowl enough since his comeback to comment on his pace or rhythm, but to say he's has done nothing since his last Test is a bit wrong... vs Durham at Chester-Le-Street in August he took 8-96 from 33 overs; pretty decent figures considering Durham racked up 420! Expect they'll go with Finn for the Gabba, albeit grudgingly - he was dropped for his lack of control and shows no signs of getting that back, but I don't think Rankin has impressed as much as they'd hoped. Preparation is fine but it's a shame we didn't get a proper look at Ballance, though Root back to 6 is a good call for now. Think it'll be a really tight series (as much of the home series was, despite the scoreline) and it's absolutely crucial we buck the trend of recent tours and start strongly in Brisbane so as to not let the Aussies get their tails up.

  • ShutTheGate on November 14, 2013, 22:14 GMT

    @ front foot lunge - you mathematics have as much accuracy as your opinions.

    England won the last ashes 3-0 mate.

  • JG2704 on November 14, 2013, 22:06 GMT

    @YorkshirePudding on (November 14, 2013, 13:00 GMT) Unless Prior recovers I still see 10/11 spots cemented. Carberry has scored 80+ and a ton in 3 inns and while I still have reservations re him when it comes to the full series it would genuinely shock me if he doesn't play. So I see it being the same team that is playing today but with Jimmy coming in for one of the lanks and the 3rd seamers spot being anyone's guess. For me if they feel Finn is rediscovering his rhythm/form they should go for him - if not Boyd's the man PS just read CS's assessment so it seems Prior is likely to play. I wonder if Matt is fit , if JB scores well whether that would be a selection headache?

    @liamhsiemllac on (November 14, 2013, 18:43 GMT) Not sure what his pace is now comparatively but 1 wicket for over 100 (I think that's right) tells it's own story.

  • Wayne_Larkins_Barnet on November 14, 2013, 21:23 GMT

    Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (November 14, 2013, 19:57 GMT), pace? I think the only genuine super fast pace bowler in this series is Johnson. Please do correct me if I'm wrong (I am not trying to provoke anyone) but I thought 'fast' was 85mph+ whereas fastmedium was below that? Either way, all the bowlers on offer are nippy, we know Finn can bowl very quick and Broad clocked it up recently so it will be interesting if Finn gets the nod! Sorry for complimenting players from both teams, I know it's not always understood.

  • milepost on November 14, 2013, 21:12 GMT

    Thanks @FFLunge, true to form you did insert a comment but please, do tell, why do you keep posting that England won the last Ashes 4-0? The first 17 times we thought it was a typo but now..... We just don't know if it is continued dyslexia or moronopioa. I will do something you can't, offer objective input. England can play cricket, so can Australia. @englishfan, you don't make sense?

  • CodandChips on November 14, 2013, 20:04 GMT

    @indiasucksgobd " Both teams seem to have relatively weak batting lineups and strength in the bowling department"- true, if you were only talking about Australia. But England's batting is underprepared, and ageing, but Cook, Trott, KP and Bell are all world class, and the batting is much better than our bowling, which looks vulnerable.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on November 14, 2013, 19:57 GMT

    @liamhsiemllac (post on November 14, 2013, 18:43 GMT): I've often found the word "pace" gets misused as a synonym for "rhythm" on these forums, which is indeed annoying because the two are entirely different. 81-83mph is fast, but perhaps not fast enough to what Tremlett at his old best could clock up. But the word I would use for Tremlett is "rhythm"; since coming back from injury he's done nothing of note in county cricket back here in U.K., and to me in these warm-up games, his rhythm has wavered and he can't seem to string together a tidy full over.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on November 14, 2013, 19:49 GMT

    @indiasucksgobd (post on November 14, 2013, 19:30 GMT): "Both teams seem to have relatively weak batting lineups and strength in the bowling department" - but hey, it's all good - there are no less than 11 players to watch out for right?

    I don't know how more prepared England could get - O.K. there were a couple of days lost to rain, but it's looks to me that just about every player likely to play in most games (barring injuries) has had a decent turn now. Despite the recent articles leaked, I doubt players have spent the majority of their time in the kitchens practicing/refining their cookery.

  • CodandChips on November 14, 2013, 19:41 GMT

    @speng agreed. Broad is a match winner but has those barren patches. The third seamer is hardly playing fantastically atm. Jimmy seemed to be getting less effective towards the end of the series. Swanny might not get much assistance from the pitch (but I reckon he will still be brilliant). Aussie batting isn't great but is improving, so it could be a tough tour. I reckon with Harris and Siddle, their bowling is better, but our batting, despite being out of form and in decline, is made of world class players.

  • indiasucksgobd on November 14, 2013, 19:30 GMT

    england look to be very underprepared for this ashes tour. If australia bowl with the same intensity as they did in England then we have a series on our hands. Both teams seem to have relatively weak batting lineups and strength in the bowling department. Players to watch out for :Cook,bell,broad,kp,Anderson,Clarke,warner,Watson,Harris,Mitch Johnson My prediction: England 2-1 Australia

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on November 14, 2013, 19:25 GMT

    Everyone looks in good nick, and Pieterson's clearly not troubled at all by his 'injury'. The sight of Australia's 'next generation' of bowling stocks getting hammered at 4-5 an over by England must be a sight that is beginning to bore some fans down under. Fact is, England look in better nick now than they did before the last, most recent, Ashes. In that one they won 4-0.

  • liamhsiemllac on November 14, 2013, 18:43 GMT

    Why oh why of why do people keep going on about Tremlett's pace being down. At the MCG last time around - he took 4 first innings wickets operating between 81 and 83mph - HOW is his pace down from that?

    There is no basis of reality in this statement!

  • on November 14, 2013, 15:28 GMT

    This is my ideal bowling lineup with obviously Anderson in Rankin's place. I see no reason to look past Finn. From what I saw of Tremlett in the televised game, his pace is down on last tour and I don't see that being a good thing. Finn gets 5 wickets, he takes that last slot. The batting order too remains the same apart from Prior coming back obviously. Australia are a good team but I simply don't see bringing Mitchell Johnson back as a good thing from them. I think better off with Harris, Siddle and then someone like Starc or Pattinson with Lyon making it up as the spinner. I still think that Australia are a couple of world class batsmen short of England and will not get big scores quite often enough and so England shade it for me on being able to assemble a few big scores more than Australia, and Anderson being the key bowler, up against Harris for Australia. This is going to be a really good series

  • milepost on November 14, 2013, 15:02 GMT

    Actually I think things are priming nicely for both teams. Should be a good series. Insert comment about ones' own nation dominating here > <.

  • Speng on November 14, 2013, 14:39 GMT

    Are England going to rue not carrying Graham Onions in the squad? I reckon Tremlett is going to be a bottle carryer the whole tour. The rationale behind carrying him ("He did well there last time") doesn't hold water when you look at his performance in Country cricket. With no all-rounders and 4 bowler lineup England have to get all 4 right else it might be a tough tour.

  • 2.14istherunrate on November 14, 2013, 13:44 GMT

    It's really hard to think that this game has done anything except go the way it was supposed to with the bowlers having to bowl for more than a day and the batsmen mostly making a good impression. Today if they get to 150 ahead then the bowlers can knock them over for 250or under and we will win comfortably in the course of getting all the parts in order. Of course Swann needs a few wickets but he is like KP and just needs to be in the flow. Good work from England.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on November 14, 2013, 13:38 GMT

    It will be interesting to see what line-up England eventually decide to go with. Without even looking back through the figures, I'm guessing Rankin has been consistently more economical than Finn-knee, yet the latter has taken more wickets (albeit suddenly boosted by his 5-fer in this game) - and Tremlett has not lived up to the promise based (seemingly) entirely on his last visit to Aus.

    To me, with Anderson and Broad seemingly in decent form and Swann capable of tying an end down (even if he's not necessarily a big wicket-taker in Aus. conditions this tour), I reckon Finn should get the nod ahead of the others. Need wickets in tests, and if the other aforementioned frontline bowlers can keep up the pressure, (some) expense from Finn but with greater likelihood of breakthroughs, is a risk well worth taking for the first game at least.

  • CricketingStargazer on November 14, 2013, 13:20 GMT

    @Yorkshire_pudding Unless you know something that we don't know... Matt Prior's injury is reported to be the lowest possible grade of tear. It will be a huge surprise if he does not play. Similarly, it will be an even bigger surprise if Joe Root does not bat at 6.

    With neither Tremlett, nor Rankin seizing the opportunity, it needed one big spell to seal the final spot and that has been provided by Steve Finn. I would expect Boyd Rankin to be in the XII, but if Steve Finn bowls anything like tomorrow (and he'll have every incentive) his wicket-taking burst has settled things.

    However, for the 2nd Test Tim Bresnan is expected to be back in the reckoning - he will play in either Alice Springs, or for the Development XI in their match. Even if Steve Finn seals that bowling spot, he will have to work to keep it.

  • CricketingStargazer on November 14, 2013, 13:08 GMT

    @jmcilhinney The bowling attack is really weak. A new ball shared by two bowlers playing their sicth First Class match. who have 34 wickets at around 30 between them and they were by a distance the most experienced bowlers. It's hard to avoid the sensation that the same tactics are being applied as in India last winter.

    For what it is worth, the best news of the match was the CA XI middle order showing a little spine. If they had folded for 120, as seemed possible at one stage, the match would have become useless as practice. Seeing the four bowlers each get through at least 22 overs and to have to work to get a couple of batsmen out was great news. It does not look as if there will be too many arguments now about the XI for Brisbane in batting order and everyone apart from Swann has either runs or wickets. There have been 4x100 and 5x50 so far and all the top six have at least 1x50.

    Tomorrow, I suspect, we will want to bat until lunch and then let Broad and Finn loose.

  • YorkshirePudding on November 14, 2013, 13:00 GMT

    @JG2704, I wouldnt go so far as to say that 10/11 places are settled, theres a big question over the 3rd Seamer, and even bigger question over Prior, then theres the 6th Batting slot which isnt settled yet either (though root looks favorite), which could go to one of 3 players, those being Carberry (Opening with root at 6), Ballence or Bairstow if Root opens and Prior is fit to play.

    I do wonder if they will revert to Root opening, though it looks unlikely, but who knows whats in the mind of Flower.

  • Chris_P on November 14, 2013, 12:50 GMT

    @jmcilhinney. Personally, I am very big in settling in & getting your eye in. When "in the zone" form seems to stay with you for longer periods rather than the hit & smash style of the shorter formats where luck is always a factor. It did seem, to me anyway, both batsmen were keen to get a lot of time in the middle, & although this wasn't the first string attack, no doubt they would have appreciated that the bowlers never let up on them. At least I got to see a bit of the Poms before the Gabba test where everything will be different!

  • jmcilhinney on November 14, 2013, 12:35 GMT

    I just read Trott's comments and he makes a lot of sense. Warmups are always a hiding to nothing where fans and other critics are concerned. If you do well then it doesn't mean anything because it's expected and if you do poorly then look out. As he says, you can only play who's in front of you and you've just got to make the most of it regardless. This CA XI is not to bad given the circumstances. All the England batsmen have spent time in the middle and have prepared as well as they can. The bowlers have been getting better as the preparation has progressed but, while Anderson and Broad look ready, the third seamer is still a concern and Swann probably still has a bit of rust to shake off. I was impressed with Finn this morning but it was only an hour's bowling and consistency is the key. Given the Brisbane forecast though, it might not matter anyway. I've got tickets for Saturday and a storm is forecast, and Friday too.

  • jmcilhinney on November 14, 2013, 12:23 GMT

    @Chris_P on (November 14, 2013, 11:50 GMT), it's an important distinction to make regarding how each batsman was playing. Like I said earlier, KP (who doesn't put too much stock in warmup games anyway) and Bell (who looks set to continue his form of the previous series) both feel ready for the first Test and were having a bit of fun, taking more risks than they normally would. Trott and Cook towards the end were also scoring at a fair clip for them. Root and particularly Bairstow are far more in need of time in the middle so it makes that, as you say, they were taking a bit more care. Hopefully they get enough play tomorrow so that they can each get another hour or two at the crease and still some time for a bit more of a bowl. There may not be time unless Root and/or Bairstow go quickly but it would be nice if Broad and Swann could get a decent bat too.

  • dunger.bob on November 14, 2013, 12:23 GMT

    This is little more than a net session folks. Score a decent number of runs and get out. I'd expect the same deal tomorrow. We're throwing as little as possible, within the bounds of plausibility at them and there're having a bit of a net. .. Personally I think the tactic pushes it, but what can you do.

    @ hhillbumper: Probably something like "Cook finally let's someone else have a bat".

  • on November 14, 2013, 12:11 GMT

    Delivery that got Carberry was lovely by the way, no shame in being dismissed to that.

  • Chris_P on November 14, 2013, 11:50 GMT

    I also got to take in most of the last session. It seemed Root & JB were trying to get into some sort of form & didn't go after the bowling at all, but they were in need of time in the middle against what was a surprisingly a pretty tight bowling outfit considering their inexperience. I enjoyed watching Muirhead do his craft, sure there were some loose balls, but there was some real zingers tossed in as well that totally flummoxed the batsmen.

  • Hammond on November 14, 2013, 11:08 GMT

    @Lyndon McPaul- getting a bit ahead of yourself aren't you? I'd be more worried about the hiding brewing in the next few months and what that might do to the development of a fragile (and bog average) Aussie side that has slid down to 5th in the world.

  • HatsforBats on November 14, 2013, 10:35 GMT

    Take their respective performances with a grain of salt. This is easily the weakest warm-up opposition England have faced yet. I'm suprised again that Cook batted as long as he did when so many of his charges could be a little short of practice and the forecast (again) is looking wet.

  • CodandChips on November 14, 2013, 10:24 GMT

    My favourite lanky Finn gets a fiver and my predicted chosen Lanky gets 1 wicket. I just can't even guess who we'll pick. Maybe it has to be Finn.

    Hopefully Jonny B can score some runs tomorrow and prove me wrong if he plays in Brisbane.

    We still don't look like we're playing anywhere near our best. Cook hopefully has found some form, but no batsman has really been consistent in these warm ups (Except Balance who has been consistently poor unfortunately). Glad Broad was in the wickets, but I still feel our bowling will be weak in Brisbane. Our batting lineup is better than the Aussies, but their bowling with Harris, Siddle, in-form Johnson and the container Watson trumps ours.

  • on November 14, 2013, 10:17 GMT

    @hillbumper..enjoy your condescending sarcasm while it is still relevant hhillbumper however even if England win this series even you would have to admit that they are past their peak; Whilst Australia is on the way up.KP may only play out this series with his bung knee and who will replace him? When Anderson goes you will have a pace attack with broad and Finn the senior bowlers (scary) whilst Australia will have a whole squadron of young but match tough bowlers in their Prime.Then their is the spin department...our Nathan Lyon performed commendably and even won his battles against KP in England and behind him are Adam Zampa and Cameron Boyce who are very talented leggies. He will only get better and he is far more developed than Swan was at his age! Simon kerrigan was a horriffic glimpse into England's future in the spin department in that last test. A bit of grace and humility will spare you much future shame!

  • JG2704 on November 14, 2013, 10:14 GMT

    @jmcilhinney - TBH I've not seen any of this game .I'd say 10/11 places are settled with just the 3rd seaming spot up for grabs. I think most fans would say that the best version of Finn is the best option but barring this innings we've not had the best version of Finn for some time. Rankin to me seems the most consistent so if it was me I'd choose between the 2. People are prob going to think I have an issue with Tremlett , but another reason why I'd have had Onions in there - besides balance of the squad - is because if Tremlett is not bowling with the pace/hostility that he was a few years ago then surely he offers no more than Onions - only Onions is more consistent... Re declaring individual inns , I'm wondering if our cricketers still never look at weather forecasts - as you touched on it being set indifferent after today? Ideally if Root and JB can get a 50 each Eng can declare and look to bowl again - hopefully giving them more clues as to which lanky to go for.

  • jackiethepen on November 14, 2013, 9:45 GMT

    Trott and Cook looked very comfortable because they were allowed to bat on, squeezing the time for the following batsmen - rain is forecast for the last two days. It makes the comments of the spin bowler hilarious. Does he really think KP and Bell would have played like that in a Test innings? To talk of Warne 'getting out Bell for fun' harks back to 2005, when he got him out 3 times in 10 innings. That dropped to 2 times out of 10 in 2006-7 and one of those Bell on 87!! Still keep the myth alive! As for KP hardly the ideal preparation for his 100th Test at the Gabba. Cook had the lions share of the batting in the second game. I would imagine KP was showing more than disdain with his shots given that he was obliged to step on the gas. Not much choice. As for Root and Bairstow I hope the skies relent, especially for Bairstow, who may have to play. The bowling has provided no answers and our batsmen are undercooked, apart from Cook and Trott. Brettig thinks we're all OK though!!

  • milepost on November 14, 2013, 9:36 GMT

    Lol@hhillbumper, you England fans are finding a special level of sadness in your comments. Not funny, not mean, not witty, not clever, not well informed, not nice, not enlightening but definitely very sad!

  • jmcilhinney on November 14, 2013, 9:14 GMT

    While life will obviously be much tougher in the Test matches, England pretty much look ready. Carberry missed out but the rest of the top 5 all looked in excellent touch with Root and Bairstow making promising starts. From what I saw of the CA stream while at work, Bairstow looked as good as you'd hope behind the stumps so hopefully the doom and gloom surrounding his replacing Prior will hopefully be unwarranted. Broad has joined Anderson in looking ready for Test duty and I was quite impressed with Finn on the second morning. It wasn't a long spell obviously but his line and length seemed to be more consistent and he took wickets like we know he can. It was the lower order in a tour game but he still looked the part. I'm thinking that that spell may just have booked him a spot in the first Test, given that neither Tremlett nor Rankin have stamped their authority on proceedings. He's still got to perform but he looked more capable of doing so.

  • hhillbumper on November 14, 2013, 9:14 GMT

    Poor play by England. They should play more like the Australians and collapse at every chance they get. They should learnt o play the Aussie way and stop these stupid lapses like winning tests.Lets see what sort of spin the Aussie media put on this one.

  • on November 14, 2013, 9:10 GMT

    I went down today; Pietersen wasn't that great. I thought the Invitational XI bowled quite well to be honest. Trott looked in the best form of all of the batsmen.

  • jmcilhinney on November 14, 2013, 9:06 GMT

    A pretty good day for England all up. While I'm sure that they'd like to have taken a few more wickets on the first afternoon, it was actually good for their preparation that they had to bowl a full day at set batsmen. They cleaned up the remaining wickets as quickly as you could reasonably expect and pretty much the whole top order looked in good nick. Carberry will be disappointed at missing out on what is probably his last chance in the middle before the first Test but he had a fair run the last two games. Trott and Cook both looked very comfortable while KP and Bell both clearly feel ready and were just having a bit of fun. I was a bit disappointed that Cook batted on himself after tea because there were men coming in after him that needed time in the middle more than he did and the forecast is not great. We should get most of a day at least tomorrow though, so hopefully Root and Bairstow can bat through most of the morning session, giving the bowlers the afternoon.

  • xtrafalgarx on November 14, 2013, 9:02 GMT

    Bell looks like he has a weakness against leg spin still...Smith troubled him a few times in England and now the young leggie.

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  • xtrafalgarx on November 14, 2013, 9:02 GMT

    Bell looks like he has a weakness against leg spin still...Smith troubled him a few times in England and now the young leggie.

  • jmcilhinney on November 14, 2013, 9:06 GMT

    A pretty good day for England all up. While I'm sure that they'd like to have taken a few more wickets on the first afternoon, it was actually good for their preparation that they had to bowl a full day at set batsmen. They cleaned up the remaining wickets as quickly as you could reasonably expect and pretty much the whole top order looked in good nick. Carberry will be disappointed at missing out on what is probably his last chance in the middle before the first Test but he had a fair run the last two games. Trott and Cook both looked very comfortable while KP and Bell both clearly feel ready and were just having a bit of fun. I was a bit disappointed that Cook batted on himself after tea because there were men coming in after him that needed time in the middle more than he did and the forecast is not great. We should get most of a day at least tomorrow though, so hopefully Root and Bairstow can bat through most of the morning session, giving the bowlers the afternoon.

  • on November 14, 2013, 9:10 GMT

    I went down today; Pietersen wasn't that great. I thought the Invitational XI bowled quite well to be honest. Trott looked in the best form of all of the batsmen.

  • hhillbumper on November 14, 2013, 9:14 GMT

    Poor play by England. They should play more like the Australians and collapse at every chance they get. They should learnt o play the Aussie way and stop these stupid lapses like winning tests.Lets see what sort of spin the Aussie media put on this one.

  • jmcilhinney on November 14, 2013, 9:14 GMT

    While life will obviously be much tougher in the Test matches, England pretty much look ready. Carberry missed out but the rest of the top 5 all looked in excellent touch with Root and Bairstow making promising starts. From what I saw of the CA stream while at work, Bairstow looked as good as you'd hope behind the stumps so hopefully the doom and gloom surrounding his replacing Prior will hopefully be unwarranted. Broad has joined Anderson in looking ready for Test duty and I was quite impressed with Finn on the second morning. It wasn't a long spell obviously but his line and length seemed to be more consistent and he took wickets like we know he can. It was the lower order in a tour game but he still looked the part. I'm thinking that that spell may just have booked him a spot in the first Test, given that neither Tremlett nor Rankin have stamped their authority on proceedings. He's still got to perform but he looked more capable of doing so.

  • milepost on November 14, 2013, 9:36 GMT

    Lol@hhillbumper, you England fans are finding a special level of sadness in your comments. Not funny, not mean, not witty, not clever, not well informed, not nice, not enlightening but definitely very sad!

  • jackiethepen on November 14, 2013, 9:45 GMT

    Trott and Cook looked very comfortable because they were allowed to bat on, squeezing the time for the following batsmen - rain is forecast for the last two days. It makes the comments of the spin bowler hilarious. Does he really think KP and Bell would have played like that in a Test innings? To talk of Warne 'getting out Bell for fun' harks back to 2005, when he got him out 3 times in 10 innings. That dropped to 2 times out of 10 in 2006-7 and one of those Bell on 87!! Still keep the myth alive! As for KP hardly the ideal preparation for his 100th Test at the Gabba. Cook had the lions share of the batting in the second game. I would imagine KP was showing more than disdain with his shots given that he was obliged to step on the gas. Not much choice. As for Root and Bairstow I hope the skies relent, especially for Bairstow, who may have to play. The bowling has provided no answers and our batsmen are undercooked, apart from Cook and Trott. Brettig thinks we're all OK though!!

  • JG2704 on November 14, 2013, 10:14 GMT

    @jmcilhinney - TBH I've not seen any of this game .I'd say 10/11 places are settled with just the 3rd seaming spot up for grabs. I think most fans would say that the best version of Finn is the best option but barring this innings we've not had the best version of Finn for some time. Rankin to me seems the most consistent so if it was me I'd choose between the 2. People are prob going to think I have an issue with Tremlett , but another reason why I'd have had Onions in there - besides balance of the squad - is because if Tremlett is not bowling with the pace/hostility that he was a few years ago then surely he offers no more than Onions - only Onions is more consistent... Re declaring individual inns , I'm wondering if our cricketers still never look at weather forecasts - as you touched on it being set indifferent after today? Ideally if Root and JB can get a 50 each Eng can declare and look to bowl again - hopefully giving them more clues as to which lanky to go for.

  • on November 14, 2013, 10:17 GMT

    @hillbumper..enjoy your condescending sarcasm while it is still relevant hhillbumper however even if England win this series even you would have to admit that they are past their peak; Whilst Australia is on the way up.KP may only play out this series with his bung knee and who will replace him? When Anderson goes you will have a pace attack with broad and Finn the senior bowlers (scary) whilst Australia will have a whole squadron of young but match tough bowlers in their Prime.Then their is the spin department...our Nathan Lyon performed commendably and even won his battles against KP in England and behind him are Adam Zampa and Cameron Boyce who are very talented leggies. He will only get better and he is far more developed than Swan was at his age! Simon kerrigan was a horriffic glimpse into England's future in the spin department in that last test. A bit of grace and humility will spare you much future shame!

  • CodandChips on November 14, 2013, 10:24 GMT

    My favourite lanky Finn gets a fiver and my predicted chosen Lanky gets 1 wicket. I just can't even guess who we'll pick. Maybe it has to be Finn.

    Hopefully Jonny B can score some runs tomorrow and prove me wrong if he plays in Brisbane.

    We still don't look like we're playing anywhere near our best. Cook hopefully has found some form, but no batsman has really been consistent in these warm ups (Except Balance who has been consistently poor unfortunately). Glad Broad was in the wickets, but I still feel our bowling will be weak in Brisbane. Our batting lineup is better than the Aussies, but their bowling with Harris, Siddle, in-form Johnson and the container Watson trumps ours.