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England lifted by Strauss, Cook and Pietersen

Last updated on: November 13, 2006 16:45 IST

Andrew Strauss, Alastair Cook and Kevin Pietersen made fluent half-centuries to lift England to 256 for four at the close on the second day of the tour match against New South Wales on Monday.


Replying to the hosts' 355 for nine declared, England overcame the early loss of Marcus Trescothick to enjoy some much-needed batting practice with the start of the first Ashes Test just 10 days away.

Strauss made 50, Cook 59, Pietersen 80 not out and captain Andrew Flintoff an unbeaten 48, with Trescothick (eight) and Ian Bell (nought) the only batsmen to miss out.

"The boys have done fantastically well today," Pietersen told reporters. "The bowlers went really well, definitely improving and it was great to score some runs.

"Straussy and Cooky were fantastic, Tres was a bit unlucky and it was nice for me to get some runs. It is just a case of acclimatising and getting used to the conditions and it was a good test for us against a really good bowling attack."

Trescothick dragged a wide ball from Brett Lee on to his stumps, but Strauss looked comfortable from the start, driving and cutting Lee and his Australia team mate Glenn McGrath for boundaries in the early overs.

He was dropped by Stuart Clark in the gully off Nathan Bracken on 32 but reached his half-century with a rasping drive to the extra cover boundary.

The left-hander was out almost immediately, however, brilliantly caught one-handed off his own bowling by Clark, and Bell nicked his second ball to wicketkeeper Daniel Smith.

Cook continued to occupy the crease in a composed manner and reached his fifty off 85 balls including six fours.


Pietersen started slowly but found his touch, crashing McGrath through the covers and whipping Moises Henriques for two fours through midwicket.

Cook's patient innings ended with the score on 166, McGrath forcing him on to the back foot and trapping him lbw.

Pietersen, joined by Flintoff, reached his half-century with a violent pull through midwicket off McGrath for his seventh four.

Flintoff survived a few early scares before hitting spinner Beau Casson for three successive leg-side boundaries, but the all-rounder played watchfully as he continued his comeback from injury.

Flintoff showed glimpses of his best form, hitting Clark for a delightful straight four and hooking him powerfully through square leg.

Pietersen lifted Nathan Hauritz over long-off for a huge six just before the close and Flintoff survived a sharp chance to midwicket off the last ball of the day.

"I have put in a lot of hard work in the nets and I will continue to do that through the Ashes series," Pietersen said.

"This is the toughest warmup game I have ever played for England, facing so many good bowlers but it is a great experience."

Earlier, New South Wales declared their first innings on 355 for nine after resuming on 325 for five.

They lost Moises Henriques, lbw to Steve Harmison, before rain forced the players off the field for a couple of hours.

When they returned, England captured three more wickets before New South Wales captain Simon Katich declared.

Harmison finished with figures of three for 95, James Anderson two for 45, Matthew Hoggard one for 58 and Ashley Giles two for 46.


New South Wales (1st innings):
Jaques c Harmison b Giles 107
Cowan b Harmison 26
Katich c Pietersen b Giles 68
Clarke c Trescothick b Panesar 50
O'Brien c Trescothick b Anderson 6
Smith c Jones b Harmison 45
Henriques lbw b Harmison 29
Hauritz c Giles b Hoggard 5
Casson not out 3
Bracken c Trescothick b Anderson 8
Extras: (lb 1, w 3, nb 4) 8
Total (for 9 wickets declared, 101.1 overs) 355

Fall of wickets: 1-38, 2-193, 3-216, 4-224, 5-289, 6-334, 7-343, 8-343, 9-355

Hoggard 17-5-58-1
Harmison 20-1-95-3
Anderson 15.1-3-45-2
Flintoff 15-4-52-0
Panesar 19-2-58-1
Giles 15-3-46-2.

England (1st innings):
Trescothick b Lee 8
Strauss c & b Clark 50
Cook lbw b McGrath 59
Bell c Smith b Clark 0
Pietersen not out 80
Flintoff not out 48
Extras: (lb 3, w 1, nb 7) 11

Total (for four wickets, 60 overs) 256

Fall of wickets: 1-9, 2-95, 3-95, 4-166

McGrath 11-1-41-1
Lee 10-1-54-1
Clark 11-0-34-2
Bracken 10-1-39-0
Henriques 3-0-24-0
Casson 11-0-50-0
Hauritz 4-0-11-0.

Ed Osmond
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