Wood grabs selectors' attention as England flirt with defeat

Cricket Australia XI 4 for 151 dec (Wood 2-25) and 8 for 269 (Dean 100, Bosisto 50, Leach 4-104, Curran 3-28) drew with England XI 9 for 314 dec (Jennings 80, Curran 77*) and 3 for 130 dec (Moeen 47)

Mark Wood looks set to remain with the England squad for the rest of the Ashes tour after impressing in the warm-up match in Perth.

Wood, currently a member of the England Lions squad, bowled with good pace on the second day of the match. As long as he suffers no reaction in the coming days, the team management hope he will stay with the full squad for the remainder of the Ashes series. While the decision is subject to ratification from ECB officials in London, and Wood might not officially be added to the squad, he is likely to travel to Melbourne and Sydney and could come into selection contention before the end of the series.

His inclusion is likely to come too late for him to be considered for the Perth Test, which starts on Thursday. Every indication from the team management suggests England will name an unchanged side for that match, with Wood still reasoning he is at about 90% pace and in need of more overs. He may gain some of them for the Lions in the coming days but, on the evidence of the performance in the warm-up match, he and Tom Curran may well have leapfrogged an out-of-sorts Jake Ball for Test selection.

Wood's bowling was the high point of another trying day as England's bowlers were thrashed around Richardson Park in Perth by the Cricket Australia XI.

Never been to Richardson Park? It's pretty, for sure. Tree-lined and verdant. But imagine pouring every insect you've ever seen into a heated oven. And then imagine climbing in after them. That's pretty much how it feels. Flies congregate in great numbers to revel in its charms. They must come from miles around to enjoy it. But you suspect few of the England team will look back on it with much fondness.

Maybe a sobering day was what they required. But as Travis Dean, a man with a reputation as something of a grafter and currently without a BBL deal, belted a 68-ball century and helped put on 152 in 21 overs for the first wicket, there seemed every chance England might slip to an embarrassing defeat after a series of declarations set up a fourth-innings run chase. Set 294 in 37 overs, the CA XI appeared to be cruising to victory before Curran's limited-overs skills - his control, his variations and his calm head - ensured they eventually fell 25 runs short and England emerged with a far-from-straightforward draw.

It was another dispiriting day for them. Still smarting from the latest self-inflicted wound - the silliness of players pouring drinks on one another just as the team management were urging them to do everything they could to distance themselves from anything that might be construed as adding to the drinking culture - they saw some of their second-string bowlers take ferocious punishment.

The spinners suffered most. Jack Leach and Mason Crane conceded 173 from their combined 18.5 overs with Leach - who conceded more than a hundred from his 9.5 overs - only gaining respite when the ball had to be fetched from neighbouring gardens and roads. Yes, the boundary was short and yes, the pitch was flat. But this was all a bit Kerrigan-esque for a prospective England spinner. It won't have enhanced his prospects, despite taking four wickets as well.

Wood, at least, provided reason for some cheer for the decent contingent of England supporters in attendance. He claimed two wickets early on the second morning of the match as Jake Doran, a 21-year-old who is in Tasmania's Shield side, top-edged a second successive bouncer, before he went wide of the crease and surprised Dean, a member of the Victoria Shield side, with his pace and bounce in bowling him off the elbow. Dean later rated his pace as "right up there" despite the sluggish surface.

Wood might have had a couple of wickets early in the CA XI's second innings, too. But first Dan Lawrence, at slip, put down a straightforward chance offered by William Bosisto before another one just eluded leg gully.

In between times, the CA XI declared their first innings 163 behind and gave England 20 overs of batting in order to set a target. While Keaton Jennings, edging one angled across him, failed Moeen Ali looked in fine touch as he struck a quick 47 and Gary Ballance - something of the forgotten man on this tour - made an unbeaten 45 before England's declaration.

If England thought they were going to enjoy a gentle workout as the match ebbed away, they were soon made to think again. Dean, inventive and powerful, thumped 16 fours and two sixes as the last couple of hours proved torrid for England.

Crane struggled with his length, Leach lacked the pace or variation to stop batsmen driving him over extra cover and had Ball been asked to hone his long-hop, he would have had an excellent day. Were it not for Curran, gaining just enough movement from a surface that seemed benign for everyone else, CA XI may well have achieved a memorable victory.

The improvement in Wood ensured the game was not an entirely wasted exercise for England. And the cameos from Liam Livingstone, who looks an extravagant talent, and to a lesser extent Joe Clarke were also encouraging. But the failure of any of the batsmen to make the significant scores for which they have been asked and the failure of the spinners to suggest any alternative to Moeen was a little disappointing.

CA XI 4th innings Partnerships

1st152TJ DeanWG Bosisto
2nd6TJ DeanJR Doran
3rd10JR DoranSB Harper
4th2SB HarperCD Hinchliffe
5th59CD HinchliffeM Wright
6th19M WrightJR Philippe
7th5ND BuchananM Wright
8th16M WrightMJA Cormack