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February 23, 2009
England XI 351 for 7 and 142 for 2 (Bell 72, Cook 52) drew with BCA XI 245 (Brooks 69, Stoute 56, Holder 50, Amjad 5-79)
England's bowlers found the opposition tougher than expected on the second day against a Barbados Cricket Associations President's XI as they reached a respectable 245. Their resistance was led by captain Sharmarh Brooks and allrounder Kevin Stoute, as the pair added 104 for the fifth wicket. The pick of England's bowlers was Amjad Khan who took 5 for 79 before Alastair Cook and Ian Bell picked up easy half-centuries.
Matt Prior's temporary departure from the tour has probably made England's selection issues slightly clearer ahead of the fourth Test and now the main issue is who replaces Andrew Flintoff at No. 6. Ambrose is unlikely to be risked so high up the order so England are now likely to select a four-man attack, meaning the chances of a debut for Amjad have receded, but his five wickets won't have done him any harm in the long run.
The decision seems to rest between Ravi Bopara or Ian Bell. Following his 124 yesterday Bopara has certainly put his name in the frame and he also offers a more in the way of bowling. He had the chance to add to his credentials with the ball when he was given an early bowl on the second day, but his five-over spell was uninspiring as Brooks and Stoute were happy to swing through the line.
Adil Rashid was also given a chance ahead of Monty Panesar, but was regularly picked off by Stoute, who swung him for six over deep midwicket en route to a 65-ball half-century.
Andrew Strauss went through a variety of options, including a couple of overs for Bell, but it took until 15 minutes before lunch to break through when Stoute was caught at first slip off Amjad. Panesar then collected his first wicket of the match on the stroke of lunch when Ryan Wiggins was trapped lbw for a duck.
Brooks played a very composed innings as he dealt comfortably with England's quicks and spinners. His half-century took 102 balls and the prospect of a memorable century was looming when he pushed loosely at Ryan Sidebottom and was caught at gully for 69.
However, any thoughts England had of quickly wrapping up the innings ahead of a long second innings in the afternoon were thwarted by Jason Holder who showed that he has batting talent to go along with his bowling skills. He struck six fours and a six before playing around a delivery from Amjad, who then collected his fifth wicket when he bowled Ronaldo Arthur.
Strauss had to leave the field shortly before the innings finished after picking up a knock on a finger while at slip. It proved nothing serious although he opted to spend the final session in a selection meeting with Andy Flower and James Whitaker as England enjoyed an extended net. When Bell fell to an attempted reverse sweep, that signalled the end of the game, but thoughts had already turned to the more serious task of the fourth Test.
A look back at five high-profile exhibition matches