PERTH, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 05: James Anderson of England celebrates the wicket of Nick Hobson of the WA XI during day two of the Ashes series Tour Match between Western Australia XI and England at WACA on November 5, 2017 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

England will feel pleased with their opening tour game where they had ample opportunity to bat and bowl in Australian conditions. The two-day game against a Western Australia XI, captained by short form Australian international Nathan Coulter-Nile, gave England a chance to play thirteen of their squad. Cook and Root will both feel that they missed out whilst others scored runs building confidence. The bowling unit looked like they need the exertions of a four-day game to truly find their rhythm. Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes both struggled as the Western Australian XI punished any bad balls that were offered up.

Positive Signs for England in WA Draw

Bad Start Before Runs Flowed

Not necessarily an omen for the tour but Alastair Cook lasted two balls before edging Nathan Coulter-Nile to the wicketkeeper. A devilish delivery first up, Coulter-Nile drew the opener into the shot which was much to the delight of the Western Australian XI. The embattled duo of Mark Stoneman and James Vince settled the innings down and played positively as they added 153 runs for the second wicket. The partnership was not chanceless as the home team’s profligacy in the field settled the tourists. Stoneman was set for a century before edging Morris to second slip for 85.
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Captain Fails but Middle Order Eventually Fires

The loss of Stoneman brought England captain Joe Root to the wicket to join Vince. Moving the score along, Vince finally found the fielder for a commendable 82. However, Root lost his wicket just five runs later as a lazy piece of footwork led to a slight nick to the wicketkeeper. At 184 for 4, the innings could have crumbled but Dawid Malan and Gary Ballance batted confidently as they both added half centuries. Much criticism from the press seemed unjust as Malan and Balance added 104 in 31 overs before retiring to give Jonny Bairstow some batting practice. England ended the day on 349 for 6 as Bairstow scored at almost a run a ball 36 ably assisted by Chris Woakes with 25.
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Lack of Rhythm

Declaring overnight, England set about testing the home side but it was the tourists who struggled. Both Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad struggled somewhat as 20-year old opener Josh Phillippe played an attacking innings. Scoring mainly in front of the wicket, Philippe scored 16 boundaries as he helped himself to 89 runs off just 92 balls. Craig Overton broke the opening partnership whilst Phillippe kept the scoreboard ticking over. His growing confidence contributed to his own downfall when trying to launch Mason Crane down the ground and Bairstow accepted the regulation stumping opportunity. One pleasant surprise for the England squad was Jake Ball. Finding his form straight away, Ball bowled economically and picked up a deserved wicket. Jimmy Anderson was the pick of the bowlers with 4 for 27 whilst Craig Overton picked up two wickets but gave away plenty of runs.

England will have appreciated the opportunity to ease themselves into the tour. There were plenty of positives to take away, but critics will point to the fact that three of the key men failed to impress against inexperienced opposition. Moving onto the Adelaide Oval, England face a Cricket Australia XI in a four-day Day-Night match. It offers an opportunity to experience cricket, with the pink Kookaburra, under lights before the Second Test at the same ground. Captain Joe Root will want to see plenty more runs on the board, for himself included, whilst the bowlers will relish the opportunity to hone their preparation for the First Test in less than three weeks.

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