PERTH - England's top-order batsmen did what their bowlers couldn't and played their way into form in the opening match of their Ashes tour against the Western Australia Chairman's XI on Friday. At stumps on the second day, England were 270 for two on a lifeless WACA pitch in reply to the home team's 451 for five declared.

Jonathan Trott, who survived a confident lbw appeal early in his innings, was on 64, while Ian Bell was unbeaten on 77 as the pair spent valuable time in the middle ahead of the first Ashes Test at the Gabba starting on November 21. Opener Joe Root was the only England batsman who failed to cash in and he became the only player dismissed for under 50 in the three-day match when he was trapped lbw for 36.

Root averaged 37.7 with the bat during England's 3-0 Ashes triumph earlier this year. Fellow opener Michael Carberry made 78 against an impotent bowling attack, putting his hand up for an opening berth amid captain Alastair Cook's back problems, and said it had been a productive day for the tourists.

"The important thing is I spent some good time in the middle, which I think most of the batters have managed to do leading into the next few games and the first Test," he said. Carberry, who played one Test in 2010 and worked as an electrician during the last English winter, admitted he was surprised to be named in the touring squad, but is confident he can do the job if he gets a second chance at Test level, whether it be as an opener or down the order.

"I don't see myself as a reserve anything," he said. "I have come out with the mentality to play, all I can try and do is knock on the door. I have a lot of first-class experience and I can take that into games with me." Looking in good touch, Bell had been at the crease for 154 minutes and faced 137 balls, hitting 11 fours and two sixes, while Trott had faced 135 balls, spiced with eight boundaries.

Bell, in particular, shapes as a key player in the upcoming Test series, after topping the aggregates in the series in England earlier this year, with 562 runs at 62.44. The WA bowling attack was weakened by an early knee injury to paceman Burt Cockley, who went off for scans after breaking down midway through his third over. While Bell and Trott took their opportunity to acclimatise to the Australian conditions, England's fringe fast bowlers were most disappointing in the Chairman's XI first innings, struggling against a second-string state team comprising fringe first-class players.

Test hopefuls Steven Finn (1-123), Boyd Rankin (1-92) and Chris Tremlett (0-88) claimed just two wickets between them, with the England tourists also putting down three catches. Every WA batsman reached 50 apart from Tom Triffitt, who was unbeaten on 18. Queenslander Chris Lynn top-scored with 104. England are missing several key players for the opening tour match, including Cook, who has a sore back, and Kevin Pietersen. Fast bowler Stuart Broad and spinner Graeme Swann were rested.



(OVERNIGHT: 369-4):

Luke Towers c Prior b Root    77

Marcus Harris c Bell b Anderson    69

Chris Lynn c Carberry b Rankin    104

Mitchell Marsh c Prior b Stokes    58

James Allenby lbw b Finn    53

Ashton Turner not out    62

Tom Triffitt not out    18

EXTRAS: (b1, lb4, w1, nb4)    10

TOTAL: (5 wkts dec; 108 overs)    451

FOW: 1-115, 2-225, 3-288, 4-326, 5-405

BOWLING: Anderson 23-9-55-1, Tremlett 21-5-88-0, Rankin 20-1-92-1, Finn 23-0-123-1, Root 11-2-32-1, Stokes 10-0-56-1


Michael Carberry c Allenby b Turner    78

Joe Root lbw b Allenby    36

Jonathan Trott not out    64

Ian Bell not out    77

EXTRAS: (lb1, w2, nb12)    15

TOTAL: (2 wkts, 70 overs)    270

FOW: 1-100, 2-137

BOWLING: Cockley 2.3-0-7-0, Duffield 17-2-70-0, Dixon 11.3-1-70-0, Beer 19-4-55-0, Allenby 14-4-33-1, Turner 6-0-34-1

TOSS: WA Chairman's XI

UMPIRES: M Martell (AUS), P Wilson (AUS)