England's Ashes 2013-14 tour opener ends in tame draw

England will play their second Ashes 2013-14 tour match against Australia A in Hobart from November 6 © AFP

Sydney: Nov 2, 2013

England were little the wiser with regards to their likely side for the first Ashes 2013-14 Test at the Gabba after their inconclusive tour-opening three-dayer against the West Australia Chairman’s XI on Saturday.

The Perth match ended in a tame draw, when the home team called a halt at 168 for five in their second innings, representing an overall lead of 228 after England was dismissed for 391 in reply to the Chairman XI’s 451 for five declared.

Up against a second-string side comprising fringe First-Class players, the tourists did not gain much insight into their best team for the first Test against Australia, starting in Brisbane on November 21.

England rested several key players for the match, allowing the opportunity for some Test hopefuls to push their claims, most notably for the third seamer’s position and the spot at No 6 in the batting order.

Pace trio Chris Tremlett, Steven Finn and Boyd Rankin all laboured  with the ball, taking seven wickets between them in the match, but just two in the home team’s first innings.

Tremlett finished with just one wicket for the match, while Finn and Rankin picked up three each, and the trio conceded 425 runs between them.

Batting hopefuls Gary Ballance, who was dismissed first ball, and Ben Stokes (4) also failed to grasp their opportunity, although Michael Carberry made the most of his chance at the top of the order, making 78 to advance his cause.

One positive for England was the form of key batsmen Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott, who both scored centuries.

Trott hit an unbeaten 113 and Bell retired when on 115, the pair spending valuable time in the middle as they shared in a 197-run partnership before the latter decided to give his teammates the chance for some time in the middle.

Trott batted for 342 minutes, hitting 10 fours and one six, while Bell, who led the aggregates in the Ashes 2013 series earlier this year, faced 165 balls with 19 fours and two sixes.

England’s next tour game is a four-dayer against Australia A, starting in Hobart on Wednesday.