England batsmen show form in tour match
SYDNEY (AP) — England’s Kevin Pietersen looked untroubled by a knee injury a week out from his 100th test as he made a brisk half century on Thursday’s second day of a four-day match against a Cricket Australia Invitational XI.
Pietersen hit seven fours and two sixes in a 71-ball innings of 57 which helped England to 302-5 at stumps, two runs short of the Australian side’s first innings of 304.
Jonathan Trott made 83 and captain Alastair Cook 81 in England’s last warm-up game ahead of the first Ashes test against Australia which begins in Brisbane next Thursday.
Pietersen received a cortisone injection in his injured knee on Sunday but seemed comfortable at the crease after a hesitant start.
He had faced only 10 balls on tour before Thursday’s innings and had little batting since September as he has contended with his knee injury.
He was scratchy at first, edging a couple of deliveries short and wide of the slips and hesitating on occasion when running between wickets but he settled down, attempting some ambitious reverse sweeps before skying an outfield catch off leg-spinner James Muirhead.
“Kev seems fine,” Trott said. “I haven’t heard him complain about (his knee).
“It’s always nice to see him in full flow and being confident in warm up games.
“But it doesn’t really count now what the guys do, it’s all about being ready and right for Brisbane on that first day.”
Trott and Cook, who have both posted first-class hundreds on tour, seemed on track to do so again as they shared a 143-run stand for the second wicket after Michael Carberry was out for four.
But Trott was caught behind by home team captain Peter Nevill off Josh Lalor (2-82) and Cook followed soon after, also caught by keeper Nevill off Nicholas Bills.
Ian Bell made 35 before falling to a slip catch off leg-spinner James Muirhead. Joe Root was 26 not out and James Bairstow 11 not at stumps.
Earlier, Steve Finn improved his chances of test selection by completing a five wicket bag to help dismiss the Invitation XI for 304 after it had resumed at 271-5.
Finn cleaned up the tailenders and returned 5-103 to put himself forward as a potential third seamer behind James Anderson and Stuart Broad in the first test.
Broad claimed his fourth wicket of the innings when he dismissed Ryan Carters for 94 with the first ball of the day as the Invitation XI lost its last five wickets for 33 runs. Broad finished with 4-37 off 24 overs.