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Page last updated at 07:34 GMT, Friday, 10 December 2010

Ashes: England struggle against Victoria in Melbourne

Tour Match, Melbourne:
Victoria 216-2d v England 50-1 (day one of three)
0000 GMT
Coverage: Scorecard on the BBC Sport website, Ceefax and mobile phones with updates on BBC Radio 5 live and Twitter
Match scorecard

England struggle against Victoria

England struggle against Victoria (UK users only)

England dropped a string of catches as Victoria declared on 216-2 in the tour match and Alastair Cook fell cheaply as the batsmen reached 50-1 in reply.

On the first day of three in Melbourne, England were asked to field first, resting their Test attack, along with Kevin Pietersen and Jonathan Trott.

Tim Bresnan and Monty Panesar each took a wicket, with Chris Tremlett unable to obtain a breakthrough at the MCG.

Tremlett is tipped to replace the injured Stuart Broad in the third Test.

With much of the attention on the bowling of Tremlett, Bresnan and Ajmal Shahzad - one of whom is certain to make their Ashes debut in Perth on 16 December - Michael Hill quietly helped himself to a maiden first-class century.

The 22-year-old was dropped four times in all on his way to 105 not out and England also missed a half-chance to dismiss David Hussey on 43.

Hill, a left-handed opener, shared an unbroken stand of 147 in 40 overs with Hussey (67 not out) before captain Cameron White ordered a sporting declaration.

And White's decision was rewarded when Cook, averaging 225 in the Test series, edged a cut shot off slow left-armer Jon Holland to Matthew Wade on 27.

Tim Bresnan
Bresnan was denied a wicket when Tremlett put down a catch

For the tourists, complimented two days ago by coach Andy Flower on their "perfect" innings victory in the second Test at Adelaide, Friday's cricket produced a less impressive demonstration of their talents.

Matt Prior, relieved of his wicketkeeping duties for this match and replaced behind the stumps by Steven Davies, dropped a regulation chance at third slip when a scoreless Hill edged Tremlett in the first over.

It was Prior too who put down a tougher opportunity, diving to his right at midwicket when Hill mishit a slog-sweep off Panesar's first delivery on 21.

The former Australia Under-19 World Cup captain took advantage in a painstaking 251-ball innings, which contained 11 fours on a stodgy pitch.

Bresnan struck with only his second delivery after replacing Shahzad at the Southern Stand end. Ryan Carters was his victim, trying to pull out of a forward-defence but edging some well-directed swing behind to Davies.

Shortly before lunch, Hill had his second escape, before unveiling some attacking shots.

Two boundaries in one Panesar over were followed by a hook off Bresnan, also for four, to reach his half-century.

By then, England had picked up their second wicket, that of White for 23, who got underneath an attempted hit over the top off Panesar and holed out to Shahzad at deep mid-off.

Hill was dropped for a third time just before tea - Davies unable to cling on to an inside edge, with Tremlett again the bowler to suffer.

England's effort was undermined by two more missed chances, Hill driving Bresnan through Tremlett's hands at mid-on on 92 and a Hussey carve finger-tipped by Ian Bell at gully off Shahzad.

We got some swing early, then worked hard on the ball and got it reversing - so it was an all-round good performance, I thought

Tim Bresnan

While Tremlett's extra height means he is expected to be Andy Flower and Andrew Strauss's choice for Perth, with its reputation for bouncy wickets, Bresnan remains hopeful he can sneak into the picture.

The Yorkshireman said: "I think I do get quite a lot of bounce. The press have billed it as a shoot-out or whatever, but we can't see it like that. We've got a job to do and a game to win.

"We've gone in with that philosophy, as we did in Hobart [in the win against Australia A and we bowled really well again, backing each other up and bowling in partnerships.

"It's not really conducive to much out there - run-scoring, or getting wickets. You've just got to hang in there, build dots, build pressure and wait for a mistake really.

"We did that well. We got some swing early, then worked hard on the ball and got it reversing - so it was an all-round good performance, I thought."

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see also
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England announce T20 & ODI squad
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Australia ring changes for Perth
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Flower ponders Broad replacement
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England complete Adelaide triumph
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England in Australia 2010-11
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