Ballance succeeds where rest fail

England

Batsman Gary Ballance afforded the national selectors food for thought, while the remainder of England's order floundered on day one of an important two-day tour fixture against the Cricket Australia Chairman's XI at Traeger Park in Alice Springs on Friday.

Batsman Gary Ballance afforded the national selectors food for thought, while the remainder of England's order floundered on day one of an important two-day tour fixture against the Cricket Australia Chairman's XI at Traeger Park in Alice Springs on Friday.

The visitors are searching for a replacement for the outgoing Jonathan Trott, who departed the tour earlier this week due to a stress-related illness, ahead of the second Ashes Test, which will get underway at the Adelaide Oval on Thursday.

Ballance, jostling for position alongside all-rounder Ben Stokes and the inexperienced Jonny Bairstow certainly capitalised on the opportunity to impress. The Zimbabwean-born left-hander struck five boundaries en route to a patient 55, which spanned 134 deliveries.

The rest of the batsmen struggled. The right-handed Joe Root's return to the top of the order amounted to disappointment, the left-handed Michael Carberry perished in single figures, vice-captain Matt Prior scored just 19 – and the talented Ian Bell was dismissed for a mere 13.

Bairstow and Stokes welcomed 31 not out and 28 respectively, but largely couldn't usurp Ballance's thorough shot selection and complementary stroke play in a final total of 212 for seven declared.

A visiting bowling attack minus the services of the rested Stuart Broad, James Anderson and Chris Tremlett couldn't orchestrate an early breakthrough in reply, as the home side climbed to 16 without loss at the close of play.

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Seamer Tim Bresnan, meanwhile, continued a promising return from a back injury for the England Performance Programme against Queensland's second XI this week.

Bresnan struck a superb half-century and secured four key wickets, as the fixture ended in a draw at the Allan Border field in Brisbane.

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