Broad shines early before England stall in Sydney

Reuters| Updated: Nov 13, 2013, 14:04 PM IST

Sydney: Paceman Stuart Broad took three wickets in a bright early spell but his fellow bowlers took some punishment later on from an Invitational XI in England`s final tour match before the Ashes on Wednesday.

England won the toss and elected to bowl first in the four-day match, making the most of lively early conditions to reduce the local team to 93 for five in bright sunshine at the at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG).

An unbeaten sixth wicket partnership of 178 runs between Ryan Carters (94) and Peter Nevill (76) as the wicket flattened out, though, frustrated the tourists and took the hosts to 271 for five at the close of play.

England`s pace attack for opening Ashes test in Brisbane next week is expected to comprise of James Anderson and Broad with one other seamer.

With Anderson and Chris Tremlett rested, Steve Finn and Boyd Rankin had a chance to press for a place in the line-up for the Gabba test.

Finn finished with two for 79, while Rankin probably bowled better but headed back to the pavilion without a wicket and having given up 60 runs in 20 overs.

Spinner Graeme Swann (0-66) also took a bit of a hammering with Broad, dubbed Australia`s public enemy number one in the run-up to the series, the pick of the England unit with his 3-36.

As expected, batsman Kevin Pietersen was also included in the team despite having a cortisone injection in his knee on Sunday, while opener Michael Carberry looks set to make his Ashes debut next week after being included.

England coach Andy Flower said last week in Hobart that England`s top six batsman for this week`s tour match would more than likely be the same as that for next week`s opening test in Brisbane.

Carberry, 33, played his only test against Bangladesh in 2010 and was something of a surprise inclusion in the tour party ahead of Nick Compton, putting himself in the reckoning for a test spot with an innings of 153 in Hobart last week.

On Wednesday, he was listed as an opener alongside Alastair Cook with Joe Root, who partnered the England captain in the first Ashes series of the year, shifted down the order to bat at number six.

Carberry did his chances no harm with a brilliant catch at backward point to help Broad dismiss one of his victims, Ben Rohrer.

Jonny Bairstow was named wicketkeeper in place of Matt Prior, who has a low grade tear in his left calf but is expected to be fit for the Gabba.

The best news for England, though, after much of the Hobart game was lost to rain and wet weather welcomed them to Sydney, was the blue skies and sunshine bathing the SCG.

England are aiming for a fourth successive Ashes triumph over the next two months with tests in Adelaide, Perth, Melbourne and Sydney following the Brisbane opener.