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England satisfied with Ashes preparations

Written by: Staff

SYDNEY, Nov 19 (Reuters) England finished off their Ashes Preparations with a draw against South Australia at Adelaide Oval today.

England captain Andrew Flintoff shook hands with South Australian skipper Darren Lehmann after agreeing to an early finish with neither side in a position to chase victory.

England will go into the first test against Australia, starting in Brisbane on Thursday, without a win from their three warm-up matches but still satisfied with their progress.

All six of their specialist batsmen have scored at least a half-century while Kevin Pietersen and Ian Bell have notched hundreds.

''Especially in the past two warm-up games, we've come out and played some good cricket,'' Bell told reporters in Adelaide.

''I feel pretty confident in terms of the fact that my last four test matches I've scored three hundreds.'' England's build up to the three-day match in Adelaide were disrupted when opening batsman Marcus Trsecothick quit the tour because of depression and fast bowler Steve Harmison pulled out with a side strain.

But Bell made 132 and Paul Collingwood 80 on the second day to raise the team's sprits and lay the foundations for the tailend to use the final day for valuable batting practice.

ERASE CONCERNS Flintoff made 47 before he was bowled by leg-spinner Cullen Bailey while paceman Sajid Mahmood, a last-minute replacement for the injured Harmison, smacked 41 before he was stumped off Lehmann.

Wicketkeeper Geraint Jones also chipped in with a handy 33 as England lifted their overnight total from 303-6 to 415 all out in the morning session to erase concerns about batting problems with England's tail.

''We've been through things like this before, (this) year in India we lost three or four players to injury before the first test match,'' Bell said.

''But the great thing about this squad we do have is when things do get tough we stick together and we seem to get better performances out of each other.'' While England's bowlers impressed with the bat, they were less successful with the ball when South Australia resumed their second innings.

Left-arm spinner Monty Panesar dismissed former Australian test opener Matthew Elliott for 55 and part-time Pietersen got rid of Cameron Borgas for 27, but the locals were otherwise unfazed in reaching 164-2 when play was abandoned with Daniel Harris 71 not out and Callum Ferguson unbeaten on seven.


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