England Taste Success In Tour Opener
England XI 185-8 dec & 261-7 (Strauss 78) beat
ICC Combined XI 281 & 164-9 dec. by 3 wickets
Tour game, Dubai
| Day Two
England got their tour of the United Arab Emirates off to a winning start although they were made to work hard before defeating the ICC Combined Associate and Affiliate XI by three wickets in Dubai.
The ICC XI declared their second innings on 164 for nine to set England 261 to win in 69 overs and they got to their target with eight overs and five balls in hand.
Andrew Strauss top scored with 78 but the seventh-wicket partnership between Steven Davies (37) and Stuart Broad (31) worth 61 saw England into a winning position.
The match was in the balance with England at 199 for six following a clatter of wickets but Davies and Broad settled England and denied the ICC XI - made up of the best cricketers currently playing in the Intercontinental Cup - a shock victory.
They resumed the day on 90 for five and battled to reach 164 thanks to Mohammad Shahzad's 74 and Majid Haq's unbeaten 26 and the declaration came when Steven Finn bowled Boyd Rankin for a duck.
Broad backed up four wickets in the ICC XI's first innings with three for 22, James Anderson took two for 62 and there was a wicket apiece for Graeme Swan, Finn and Kevin Pietersen.
It seemed clear from the outset that England were aiming to chase the runs down as Strauss and Alastair Cook (26) wasted no time in making 63 in 11.2 overs together before Cook was caught by Haq off Craig Williams.
Strauss then added 70 runs with Jonathan Trott (35) for the second wicket but England lost the wickets of Strauss - caught by Williams off Haq - and Pietersen, who was caught by Rankin off George Dockrell for one, in the space of five balls.
They then lost three more wickets for 19 runs when Trott - caught by William Porterfield off Nabi, Eoin Morgan - caught by Shahzad off Rankin for three - and Ian Bell - caught by Paul Stirling off Nabi - were all dismissed.
However, the cool heads of Davies - deputising for an injured Matthew Prior behind the stumps for England, and Broad, who enjoyed an excellent game making a comeback from injury, steered England to the brink of victory.
Broad fell with the finishing post in sight when the scores were level as he was caught by Dockrell off Nabi, leaving Nottinghamshire team-mate Graeme Swann (1 not out) to hit the winning run.
England face a Pakistan Cricket Board XI in another three-day warm-up match which begins on 11th January ahead of the first Test against Pakistan, which gets underway on 17th January.
© Cricket World 2012