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Page last updated at 07:25 GMT, Saturday, 11 December 2010

Ashes: England seamers struggle against Victoria

Tour Match, Melbourne:
Victoria 216-2d & 278-6 v England 184-2d (day two 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 appeal for a wicket

Strauss strikes as seamers struggle for England

England ended day two of the tour fixture against Victoria with their seamers still having taken only one wicket between them in the match.

Andrew Strauss (66) and Ian Bell (60 not out) guided England to 184-2 before declaring, and Victoria were 310 ahead on 278-6 by the close.

There were few clues as to who should replace the injured Stuart Broad in the attack for the third Ashes Test.

Seamers Chris Tremlett, Tim Bresnan and Ajmal Shahzad failed to take a wicket.

England resume their Ashes campaign against Australia in Perth on Thursday, 16 December, and with a place up for grabs the tourists had been hoping to see their back-up pacemen star in Melbourne.

But it was the gentle medium pace of Paul Collingwood that accounted for Ryan Carters, Alex Keath and Matthew Wade, while spinner Monty Panesar weighed in with two wickets and even skipper Strauss enjoyed success with the ball as he trapped Michael Hill leg before wicket.

The second day had begun well for Strauss as England resumed their first innings on 50-1 and he quickly moved on to 66 before falling to slow left-armer Jon Holland.

Bell confident bowlers will flourish

Strauss's previous best from five first-innings efforts on the tour had been 14, contrasting with three hundreds in the second innings.

Bell, playing at three, posted his fifth successive 50 and Collingwood managed a couple of sixes off Holland before the tourists decided over lunch it was time to give Tremlett, Bresnan and Shahzad another opportunity with the ball.

It proved tough going on an unresponsive pitch, however, and it was Panesar who ended an opening stand of 72 when Aaron Finch went up the wicket and looped the ball high to Bell at extra cover.

Shahzad and Bresnan began to test their opponents with reverse swing but a series of lbw appeals went unanswered before Collingwood struck in his first over, bowling Carters round his legs to break a second-wicket partnership of 75.

Another wicket followed in Collingwood's second over as Alastair Cook, who was back on the field after a stiff back saw him miss the afternoon session, dived to his left at short mid-off to catch a Matthew Wade drive.

John Hastings then fell to Panesar and Keath went four runs short of a maiden 50, gloving a pull behind off Collingwood, before Strauss brought himself and Middlesex team-mate Eoin Morgan on to bowl 'declaration' spin at each end.

Strauss made first-innings centurion Michael Hill his third career victim, but Clint McKay then helped himself to a career-best 58 not out and Jayde Herrick was unbeaten on 40 at the close.


"I think it was very batter friendly and all four [seam bowlers], Monty as well, have gone at two an over pretty much all game," Bell told BBC Radio 5 live. "That's absolutely fantastic, that's what you want in Test cricket, the guys bowling really consistently in good areas.

"OK, the wickets haven't tumbled all through the game but they've hit good areas, they've reverse swung the ball and on a really batter-friendly wicket they've all done very well.

"They've got overs under their belt as well, so whoever Straussy and [coach] Andy Flower pick from, they'll be ready to go. I think it's very healthy for English cricket that we've got three guys on tour who are fully fit and pushing for that spot."

And of his own performance, Bell added: "It was nice to get up to number three and face the new ball.

"I'm sure as we go into the second innings a few more of the guys will have an opportunity as well and we'll have a chance of maybe trying to chase 300, which will be good pressure for our guys to be under."

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see also
Victoria make England toil at MCG
10 Dec 10 |  England
Anderson returns to see new baby
10 Dec 10 |  England
England announce T20 & ODI squad
10 Dec 10 |  England
Australia ring changes for Perth
10 Dec 10 |  England
Warne talk boosts England - Swann
09 Dec 10 |  Australia
Pietersen hit with speeding fine
09 Dec 10 |  England
Flower ponders Broad replacement
08 Dec 10 |  England
Strauss confident of series win
07 Dec 10 |  Cricket
England complete Adelaide triumph
07 Dec 10 |  Cricket
Katich set to miss rest of series
07 Dec 10 |  Australia
Injured Broad ruled out of Ashes
07 Dec 10 |  Cricket
England in Australia 2010-11
08 Oct 09 |  Cricket

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