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Cricket: Malan ton lifts England tourists

PUBLISHED: 08:59 17 November 2017 | UPDATED: 08:59 17 November 2017

England's Dawid Malan hit a centur in their Ashes warm-up match against a Cricket Australia XI in Townsville (pic Nick Potts/PA)

England's Dawid Malan hit a centur in their Ashes warm-up match against a Cricket Australia XI in Townsville (pic Nick Potts/PA)

PA Wire/PA Images

England made light of a trademark collapse to continue their domination of a Cricket Australia XI after Middlesex's Dawid Malan became the second centurion of their Ashes tour.

Malan (109) and Joe Root (83) extended their fourth-wicket stand to 163 as England piled up 515 all out to hold a mammoth lead of 265 over their inexperienced hosts on day three of their final warm-up match at the Tony Ireland Stadium.

The tourists’ position could and should have been stronger still, however, because they frittered away five wickets for 38 runs as home captain Matt Short (4-103) multiplied by five his career tally of first-class wickets and more than halved his previous average of 91.

Three batsmen fell for just a single either side of lunch, including an inconvenient failure for Moeen Ali in what seems sure to be his only innings before the first Test.

The Cricket Australia XI were 121-3 at the close as Moeen Ali (2-34) nabbed a brace and Mason Crane also had success with the ball.

On a day marked elsewhere by the sound and fury surrounding Australia’s curious squad selection for the first two Tests, England had the chance to quietly go about their business.

They would have preferred to see Root head to Brisbane next week with a hundred under his belt, but instead he got an edge down the leg-side off seamer Simon Milenko and fell to a very good diving catch by young wicketkeeper Harry Nielsen.

Jonny Bairstow is another batsman saving some runs for the Tests, fifth out and the first to go for under 20 after spearing a low full toss to mid-on off leg-spinner Daniel Fallins (3-127).

Malan made no mistake as he posted England’s second century in consecutive days, reaching his milestone from 192 balls.

He hit nine fours in a chanceless hundred, his first in England colours, characterised by unflustered shot selection and some pretty driving off both pace and spin.

Malan still looked a little peeved to be run out when Moeen called him for the single, after his inside edge into the leg-side off Fallins, and Jake Carder’s direct hit found him short of his ground.

Moeen was bowled through the gate by Short just before lunch, and the off-spinner was on a hat-trick when Craig Overton pushed the first ball of the afternoon straight to short-leg to add a golden duck here to his two noughts in Adelaide last week.

Stuart Broad was caught off a mis-sweep at Short, but Chris Woakes arrested the slide by engineering a last-wicket stand of 58 with gritty number 11 Crane.

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