England struggled on day one of the final warm up game in Sydney as an Australian Invitational XI closed on 271-5 after the tourist’s won the toss and inserted the hosts to bat.
Stuart Broad was the shining light on an otherwise frustrating day with the fast bowler returning figures of 3-36 off his 20 overs which included seven maidens. However, the main positive was all 90 overs were bowled after over half of last week’s tour game in Tasmania was washed out due to rain.
James Anderson was rested which meant Boyd Rankin and Steven Finn joined Graeme Swann in the bowling unit. That meant Chris Tremlett did not make the team as both Rankin and Finn struggled to gain any rhythm.
Things were looking positive for Alastair Cook’s side early on though after England had their opponents stuck at 93-5 shortly after lunch. Broad had t20 specialist Aaron Finch caught behind for four, giving stand-in wicket keeper Jonny Bairstow some early confidence behind the stumps.
Callum Ferguson followed 23 runs later as he was trapped in front for just eight. Steven Finn then came into the bowling attack and finished the day with two wickets for 79 runs from his 22 overs as he failed to gain consistency, despite his two wickets.
Rankin and Swann didn’t manage a wicket between them on a hot day in Sydney and while the tall Warwickshire quickie went for three runs an over from his 20 bowled he rarely forced the issue for a Test spot with the opening Ashes match starting next Thursday 21st November.
The Invitational XI will bat on in the morning with England desperate for the sixth wicket as the partnership currently stands on 178 with Ryan Carters on 94 and Peter Nevill on 76.
When England get chance to bat they will have the luxury of having a full strength line-up with Michael Carberry joining his captain at the top of the order and Ian Bell following Jonathan Trott and Kevin Pietersen to the crease. Joe Root will bat at six while Bairstow gets his first opportunity of the tour to prove his worth with the bat.
The four day game comes to its conclusion on Saturday before the team travel to Brisbane to prepare for the opening Test Match at the Gabba which starts on midnight next Thursday.