SYDNEY - Michael Carberry all but sealed his place in the England side for the first Ashes Test against Australia next week when he scored a half century to help the tourists register a seven-wicket victory in their final warmup match in Sydney.

The 33-year-old opener, who has played just one Test against Bangladesh in 2010, top-scored in England's second innings with 50 off 71 balls as the tourists chased down 148 to win their four-day match against an Invitational XI on Saturday.

Ian Bell, who belted Chris Tremain's first delivery of the 39th over for six to tie the scores, smashed another boundary three balls later to take the tourists to a winning 151 for three total. Bell was 33 not out, while Jonathan Trott was on 38, having shared in 50-run partnerships with both Carberry and Bell.

England had earlier bowled the Invitational XI out for 261 with Aaron Finch top-scoring on 59, while Steven Finn and Boyd Rankin took three wickets apiece. Finn took eight wickets in the match but was particularly expensive in the second innings and the haul may not have done enough for him to take the third seamer spot for the test alongside certain starters James Anderson and Stuart Broad.

The match had been badly affected by rain and the England batsmen accelerated the run rate in the final session with threatening clouds on the horizon after the players were forced to take a lengthy weather break at the tea interval. Carberry is England's top-scorer on tour having scored 78 in the opening match in Perth and 153 against Australia 'A' in Hobart.

The visitors, however, had indicated the left-handed batsman would open the innings in Brisbane along with skipper Alastair Cook when they dropped Joe Rootdown the order for the latest match at the Sydney Cricket Ground. England's chief concern in the batting department will be with Kevin Pietersen, who has innings of 8, 57 and 6 on tour, though given his pedigree, is almost certain to start the match at the Gabba, which will be his 100th Test. Matt Prior remains the only injury doubt with a calf strain and the wicketkeeper is due to undergo a fitness test on Tuesday to determine his availability for the first test.





(153-4 OVERNIGHT):

Ed Cowan b Broad    42

Aaron Finch c Carberry b Swann    59

Callum Ferguson b Finn    26

Kurtis Patterson b Broad    22

Ben Rohrer c Bairstow b Rankin    13

Ryan Carters c Bairstow b Swann    40

Peter Nevill c Bairstow b Finn    11

Josh Lalor c Bell b Rankin    8

Chris Tremain c Pietersen b Finn    20

James Muirhead c Bairstow b Rankin    4

Nicholas Bills not out    7

EXTRAS: (b4, lb3, nb2)    9

TOTAL: (all out; 88.5 overs)    261

FOW: 1-81, 2-120, 3-135, 4-152, 5-180, 6-222, 7-224, 8-241, 9-245, 10-261

BOWLING: Broad 16-8-32-2, Finn 20.5-6-88-3, Rankin 21-7-46-3, Swann 27-10-69-2, Trott 1-0-3-0, Root 3-0-16-0


Alastair Cook b Muirhead    21

Michael Carberry c Hughes b Muirhead    50

Jonathan Trott not out    38

Kevin Pietersen b Tremain    6

Ian Bell not out    33

EXTRAS: (w1, nb2)    3

TOTAL: (3 wkts; 38.4 overs)    151

FOW: 1-40, 2-91, 3-99

Bowling: Tremain 12.4-1-49-1 (2nb, 1w), Lalor 5-1-9-0, Bills 7-0-27-0, Muirhead 14-0-66-2

England won by 7 wickets

Toss: England

Umpires: Simon Fry, Mick Martell (AUS)

Match referee: Sean Easey (AUS)