England will be looking to push on against the Australian Invitational XI in a few hours as they resume on 302-5, just two runs behind at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

The tourist’s enjoyed day two which included half centuries for captain Alastair Cook, Jonathan Trott and Kevin Pietersen after Steven Finn claimed 5-103 to put them in control.

Finn put his hand up for Ashes selection after taking three wickets in the morning session which was aided by Stuart Broad who finished with figures of 4-37 with Boys Rankin picking up 1-63 as the Invitational XI lost their last five wickets for just 33 runs at the SCG.

Facing a reasonable score of 302, England got off to a steady start before Michael Carberry was caught behind for just four runs off the bowling of Josh Lalor. That brought Trott to the crease to partner Cook and they formed a formidable partnership of 143 for the second wicket before the captain quickly followed the Warwickshire back to the famous pavilion.

While Trott was undone by a Lalor delivery which caught the edge on 83, Cook fell victim of a third catch of the day for wicket keeper Peter Nevill just 19 runs short of three figures, this time off the bowling of Nicholas Bills.

Pietersen gained valuable time at the crease after receiving an injection to help him with his troublesome knee injury which caused him some discomfort in Hobart last week. The 33-year-old hit two sixes and seven fours in his innings of 57 while Ian Bell went for 35 after a number of high quality shots.

That means Yorkshire pair Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow will be at the crease for their country when play resumes at 11.30pm GMT as both look to impress Andy Flower ahead of the opening Test next Thursday.

Root is expected to bat at number six in Brisbane with Carberry set to open along with Cook while Bairstow could be thrown the gloves with an injury doubt over wicket keeper Matt Prior. The vice-captain suffered a low-grade tear in Tasmania and is sitting out the final warm up game and faces a race against time to be fit for the opener at the Gabba.

Root raced onto 26 from 30 balls with Bairstow on 11 and looking to show off his talent with the bat after a good innings in the field behind the stumps.

England will be looking to progress before giving their bowlers one last chance to practice in the match environment before the Ashes starts. With Chris Tremlett not playing in this game it gives Steven Finn a great chance to back up his five wickets in the first innings to prove he is ready for the Australians next week.

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#The Ashes
#England cricket
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