CA Invitational XI 304 (Carters 94, Finn 5-103) v
England XI 302-5 (Trott 83, Cook 81)
Tour game, Sydney, day two
England's batsmen followed up a good effort by their bowlers on day two of their tour game against a Cricket Australia Invitational XI in Sydney to close just two runs behind.
Steven Finn returned figures of five for 103 and Stuart Broad four for 37 to dismiss the Invitational XI for 304 and thanks to half-centuries by Alastair Cook, Jonathan Trott and Kevin Pietersen, England closed on 302 for five.
Runs for Pietersen will be particularly pleasing for England after he travelled to Melbourne prior to this game for a cortisone injection in his troublesome right knee.
Finn was not included in the team that Australian captain Michael Clarke expects to face in Brisbane on 21st November, but his performance may prompt England to consider his inclusion at the Gabba.
It did not take England long to disturb the partnership between Ryan Carters (94) and Peter Nevill (83) that had frustrated them for most of day two. In fact it took just one ball as Finn had Carters caught behind to give England the perfect start.
He struck again to have Josh Lalor caught by Graeme Swann without scoring and then removed Nevill, also caught behind.
Boyd Rankin was the other bowler to take a wicket when Chris Tremain was caught by Michael Carberry for one, after which Finn wrapped up five-wicket haul by dismissing Nic Bills for six.
England's openers Cook and Carberry added 318 runs together in their previous game but this time they made just 19 before Carberry was caught by Nevill off Lalor for one.
Cook, however, went on to score 81 and added 143 with Trott, who made a fluent 83 in 105 balls to ensure England batted through the middle session of the day without losing a wicket.
The partnership was broken after tea and that allowed Pietersen to confirm that he is perfectly fit and he dominated the bowling, hitting seven fours and two sixes before falling for 57 in 71 balls to James Muirhead.
Cook had also departed by then, caught by Nevill off Bills and England, perhaps mindful of forecasts of poor weather to come, also lost Ian Bell for a quickfire 35 in 45 balls.
Unbeaten at stumps were Joe Root, on 26, and Johnny Bairstow, on 11.
© Cricket World 2013