Alastair Cook fails but England batsmen shine in opening Ashes practice game

Alastair Cook was out for a duck but England batsmen, led by Mark Stoneman and James Vince, managed 349/6 in their two-day practice game against Western Australia XI in Perth.

cricket Updated: Nov 04, 2017 17:27 IST
Sidharth Gulati
Sidharth Gulati
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Alastair Cook,England cricket team,Western Australia XI
Alastair Cook walks after being dismissed for a duck during a two-day practice match against Western Australian at the WACA in Perth. (AFP)

Alastair Cook, England cricket team opener, suffered a poor start to his Ashes tour with a second-ball duck in the visitors’ two-day practice game against Western Australia XI in Perth on Saturday. However, England -- after electing to bat -- pulled things back as they managed 349/6 at the close of play.

The former England skipper has now been sent back to the pavilion twice in his last three balls at the WACA, following his first ball duck to Ryan Harris in the 2013-14 Ashes which Australia won 5-0.

Cook edged a Nathan Coulter-Nile delivery behind on the back foot and wicket-keeper Calum How did the rest.

READ | England’s Craig Overton ready to seize Ashes chance

Mark Stoneman and No. 3 James Vince then played sensibly and brought up their half-centuries.

Both batsmen were able to score freely, hitting 28 fours between them in a second-wicket partnership of 153. Stoneman scored 85 while Vince, who’s selection sparked criticism after his poor show in Tests last year, hit 82 off just 129 balls.

Vince was given three lives in his knock on 47, 63 and 67, twice at slip by Coulter-Nile and once at mid-wicket from a pull.

Skipper Joe Root fell cheaply as England were left reeling at 184/4.

READ | Joe Root urges England cricket team to show ‘character’ under Ashes barrage

Root looked annoyed when he was given out caught behind when it looked like the ball had flicked his leg rather than his bat.

But Dawid Malan (56) and Gary Ballance (51), who are seemingly battling for one spot in the Test line-up, shared another three-figure stand (104) before Jonny Bairstow (36*) and Chris Woakes (27*) played out the remaining overs.

Coulter-Nile, who finished the day with 1/43 off 16 overs, is attempting to force his way into the Australian squad for the first Test.

This is England’s first of three warm-up games ahead of the opening Test against Australia, starting in Brisbane on November 23.

Moeen Ali and Steven Finn have been ruled out of the opening two tour games due to injuries.

All-rounder Moeen is nursing a side strain while Finn injured his left knee while batting in a nets session on Thursday.

England had already suffered a big blow ahead of the tour when Ben Stokes was indefinitely suspended after being involved in a brawl outside a nightclub in Bristol.

Stokes, who remains at home awaiting the outcome of a police probe, still has an outside chance of featuring in the Ashes.

But England coach Trevor Bayliss has said he is preparing for life without Ben Stokes in the upcoming series, adding that any reprieve for the suspended all-rounder would be just a “bonus”.

(With Agency Inputs)

First Published: Nov 04, 2017 13:53 IST