Malan makes 109, England batsmen flourish in tour match
TOWNSVILLE, Australia (AP) Dawid Malan followed Mark Stoneham to a century as England extracted every ounce of value from its last Ashes warm-up match against a Cricket Australia XI.
Malan was run out for 109 on Friday and England was finally dismissed for 515 on the third day of the four-day match, its last before the Ashes test series against Australia begins in Brisbane next week.
Stoneman made 111, the first century by an England batsman on tour, and Stoneman's first for England. He has made 50 or more in four consecutive innings on tour.
Malan then also posted his first hundred for England after passing 50 three times in warmup matches. His century from 191 balls almost certainly clinched the No. 5 batting spot in the test lineup.
Off-spinning allrounder Moeen Ali claimed two wickets in his return to the England team after a side-strain as the Cricket Australia XI went to stumps at 121-3 in its second innings after being dismissed on the first day for 250.
The only shadow on the day was the performance of the England lower order. After reaching 380-4 with Stoneman and Malan's centuries and innings of 83 by captain Joe Root and 70 by opener Alastair Cook, England faltered a little and its last five wickets fell for 77 runs.
Chris Woakes made 36 and No. 11 Mason Crane scored an unbeaten 25 but the next best was Jonny Bairstow's 19.
England has been critical of the caliber of opposition it has faced in its warmup matches but Stoneman said it would have to do.
"It's going to have to be enough," he said. "We can't change the preparation we've been given.
"That's where self-awareness and knowing where you are within your own game is key."
Meanwhile, England paceman Jake Ball appears to be recovering from an ankle injury rapidly enough to be considered for the first test. Ball fielded on Friday against the Cricket Australia XI.
If fit, Ball will compete with Craig Overton for the fourth seamer role in the England test lineup behind Jimmy Anderson, Stuart Broad and Woakes.
"If he's going to be available to play next week, then he needs to spend some time on the field," England assistant coach Paul Farbrace said. "He's going to bowl 15 overs in the nets tomorrow and give himself a great chance of being selected next week."
Overton took 2-32 in the first innings but had figures of 0-28 in the second innings by stumps Friday.
Updated November 17, 2017