England complete tour match win at SCG

England

England's preparations for next week's first Ashes Test continued with a testing seven-wicket win over the Cricket Australia Invitational XI at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Saturday.

England's preparations for next week's first Ashes Test continued with a testing seven-wicket win over the Cricket Australia Invitational XI at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Saturday.

Resuming on 153 for four, the hosts were only able to add a further 106 runs for the loss of six wickets. The hard work done by openers Ed Cowan and Aaron Finch was undone by a rather feeble followthrough in the middle order.

The Ireland-born Boyd Rankin boosted his chances of a maiden Test call-up with three key breakthroughs, while fellow fast bowler Steven Finn set himself apart from the competition with eight wickets in the match.

The tourists' target was admittedly modest, but the left-handed Michael Carberry and right-handers Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell were entirely professional in their collective completion.

Carberry welcomed a fine half-century, as Trott and Bell ended on 38 not out and 33 not out respectively. Leg-spinner James Muirhead gathered some consolation in removing visiting skipper Alastair Cook cheaply and Carberry shortly after the arrival of his milestone.

The visitors, for this fixture and two others before it, will have all but banked on their playing XI for Thursday's start in Brisbane. Carberry has surely booked an opening berth, while the talented Joe Root is likely to filter down the order.

The composition of the seam attack, though, remains in the balance. The inclusion of all-rounder Ben Stokes might bring imbalance, but help the batting resources. Which two of Finn, Rankin and the lanky Chris Tremlett will partner the experienced Stuart Broad and James Anderson, too, is an intriguing prospect.

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