English quick down, Paine stakes claim

Adelaide: England's depleted pace attack suffered another blow on Thursday when quick Jake Ball sprained his right ankle in his delivery stride on day two of the tourists' match at the Adelaide Oval against the Cricket Australia XI.

Australia's captain Tim Paine gave selectors - both state and national - something to think about with a classy half-century on day two of the pink-ball four-day match.

In his fourth over of the day, Ball was about to bowl to CA XI batsman Jake Carder, but fell to the ground in pain after slipping. He sat in the middle while being attended to by England team staff before walking off the field, largely unaided. Captain Joe Root completed the over.

England announced later in the afternoon that Ball, 26, would take no further part in the day's play, and would be assessed before day three. England have one more tour match - also against the CA XI - beginning next Wednesday in Townsville. The first Test starts in Brisbane on November 23.

Ball has been vying with fellow quick Craig Overton to secure a place in England's XI for the first Test behind lead pacemen James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes.

The other fast bowler in the touring party had been Steven Finn, but a knee injury sustained last week in Perth led to his premature return to England. Bowling all-rounder Tom Curran has been named as his replacement.

England are also without paceman Toby Roland-Jones, unavailable for the tour following a back stress fracture while another seam option, all-rounder and vice-captain Ben Stokes, remains in England, his availability for the series in doubt pending a police investigation into an alleged assault in Bristol in September.

England should, however, regain spinning all-rounder Moeen Ali for the Townsville match after being left out of this match as a precaution following a side strain.

Ball had taken 1-5 from 3.4 overs, removing No. 3 batsman Ryan Gibson for four. So short were they for fielders, England at one stage used fielding coach Paul Collingwood, 41, as a substitute.

Even without Ball, England's bowlers made relatively light work of an inexperienced CA XI top order. The CA XI were 5-57 before Paine and Matt Short steadied the ship. Wicketkeeper Paine had just reached his 50 when Short fell early in the day's final session for 45.

Paine was trapped lbw by Anderson shortly after, but No.8 Simon Milenko took 19 from an Overton over on his way to 50, before the CA XI declared late in the day at 9-233 to give England's openers - including former captain Alastair Cook - five late overs under lights.

Back-up spinner Mason Crane had the best figures of the tourists' bowlers, finishing with 3-78.

After a duck in the opening tour match in Perth, and 15 in the first innings in Adelaide, time in the middle would be handy for Cook. Despite a testing short spell from left-arm quick Jackson Coleman, Cook (one not out) and fellow opener Mark Stoneman (four not out) survived until the close, with England 0-5, leading by 65.

Paine, who on day one dropped Stoneman on 17, had earlier been called up to Tasmania's Sheffield Shield squad for next week's match against Victoria. If named in the Tigers' XI, Paine - overlooked by his state so far this shield season following Matthew Wade's return - will be pulled from the Townsville match.

Paine is a longshot for a Test recall, but CA XI coach Ryan Harris said before the game that a big score from the veteran could put him in the Test frame given the lack of early-season runs from incumbent Wade, and challengers Peter Nevill and Alex Carey.

Resuming on Thursday at 8-278, England were earlier bowled out for 293, with NSW leg-spinner Daniel Fallins finishing with 5-73 on his first-class debut.

Speaking after play, Woakes - who finished with 2-48 - said he felt for Ball.

"He's been bowling nicely on this trip so far," Woakes said.

"So when you see a fellow fast-bowler go off the field, particularly the way he did it I suppose, falling under himself is quite frustrating for himself and for us as a team.

Woakes was unsure of the prognosis for Ball. "Obviously when it happens it all happens quite quickly out in the middle. He said that it rolled underneath him, he just said it was quite sore."

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This story English quick down, Paine stakes claim first appeared on The Age.