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England toil on first day

England's tall trio suffered a difficult first day of their Ashes tour at the hands of guest centurion Chris Lynn and three other batsmen who passed 50 for the Western Australia Chairman's XI.

Only linchpin James Anderson stands under 6ft 7ins among England's frontline seamers for this first warm-up match at the WACA, and his was the sole success for any pace bowler before tea in a stumps total of 369 for four.

Steven Finn, Boyd Rankin and Chris Tremlett's combined figures of 1-245 left them all with plenty to work on to claim a place in next month's first Test line-up at Brisbane.

If there was mitigation for them, it came perhaps in a slightly untypical surface for this first match of the new season at a venue renowned as home of the world's quickest and bounciest pitches.

Finn, in particular, was picked off too often by the pull shot for it to be a case simply of lacklustre bowling without a comparative lack of life in the strip being a contributory factor.

Lynn, who last played first-class cricket for his native Queensland almost 20 months ago, has since become an apparent limited-overs specialist.

His 16 fours and a six in a 116-ball century at number three followed an opening stand of 115 between Marcus Harris and Luke Towers, who hit 69 and 77, as England's bowlers made a collectively slow start.

The upshot was a day of unexpectedly long toil and one which provided a contrast with the success England had in the corresponding match here at the start of their Ashes-winning tour three years ago, when a full-strength WA team - this one is not, with a Sheffield Shield fixture ongoing - declared on 242 for eight.

Harris and Towers took a liking to Rankin as England's hosts raced past three figures by lunch, having chosen to bat first on a sunny morning; then Lynn joined Towers to dominate a second successive century stand.

Rankin's first spell betrayed apparent nerves and brought him figures of 4-0-29-0 - littered with full tosses, including one at waist height to Towers as 16 runs came off the uncapped Irishman's third over.

Anderson and Tremlett had fared acceptably with the new ball, without posing major problems for two batsmen surplus to Western Australia's domestic requirements against Victoria in Melbourne.

Twenty-one-year-old left-hander Harris drove well, at this venue associated more obviously with back-foot play, in a near-run-a-ball half-century which contained nine fours.

Towers began to tick over, too, after a pull for four from Rankin's second delivery.

Anderson's return at the Prindiville Stand End after lunch was too much for Harris, tucked up by a little extra bounce and a tight line and fending a catch low to gully.

That was in only the third over of the afternoon - but if England thought it might pave the way for further inroads, they were mistaken.

Rankin was much improved in his second spell, beating the bat against both Towers and Lynn, but could not stop the former reaching his half-century with a cover drive for his seventh four.

Ben Stokes and Joe Root tried their hand with the ball but the medium-pacer leaked more than six an over, and the off-spinner conceded the first six of the tour when Lynn clumped him over long on to celebrate his half-century.

Shortly afterwards, Tremlett missed a chance diving to his right at mid-on off Root, with Lynn on 66.

In the first over after tea, Root had Towers edging a cut behind to stand-in captain Matt Prior but was involved in a mix up with Anderson when the pair allowed Mitchell Marsh to edge a four at catchable height between them.

Lynn completed his century with a glorious cover-driven four off Finn but then cut Rankin straight into the hands of gully.

Marsh, with 58, continued the sequence of 50s, his the quickest off just 48 balls with all but eight runs in boundaries, before he edged a drive at Stokes to the diving Matt Prior.

There was to be no lasting respite, though, for England - who had conceded 336 for four by the time they could hand Tremlett and Anderson the second new ball.

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