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England run into Hill

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Michael Hill

Opener Michael Hill rides his luck - he was dropped four times - during a maiden ton, allowing Victoria to declare on 216 for two

England endured a frustrating opening day of their tour match against Victoria at the MCG.

Andrew Strauss’ side put down opener Michael Hill four times on his way to a patient maiden century before the hosts declared on 216 for two.

The former Australia Under-19 World Cup captain, now 22, took advantage in a painstaking 251-ball innings, which eventually contained 11 fours on a stodgy pitch.

In reply, the tourists were 50 for one at stumps with Alastair Cook out for 27, having edged a cut behind off slow left-armer Jon Holland.

Strauss will resume on the second day of three in Melbourne on 17 with Ian Bell on six.

Hill, who had 105 to his name when Cameron White left England a tricky 14 overs to negotiate, shared an unbroken stand of 147 in 40 overs with David Hussey, who was unbeaten on 67.

Chris Tremlett was unfortunate to go wicketless with Hill twice dropped off his bowling en route to conceding just 29 runs from 15 overs.

Ajmal Shahzad and Tim Bresnan were also economical as they and Tremlett vied to replace the injured Stuart Broad in next week's third Ashes Test at Perth.

White chose to bat first despite cloudy conditions and Hill was reprieved from the first ball he faced.

Matt Prior, relieved of his wicketkeeping duties for this match and replaced behind the stumps by Steven Davies, dropped a regulation chance at third slip when the left-hander edged Tremlett in the first over.

Bresnan struck with only his second delivery after replacing Shahzad at the Southern Stand end.

David Hussey & Steven Davies

David Hussey, who shared an unbroken 147-run stand with Hill, advances to 67 not out on a stodgy surface at the MCG

Bresnan’s first ball was driven for four past cover by debutant Ryan Carters, who went to the next for 16 - trying to pull out of a forward-defence but edging some well-directed swing behind to Davies.

The watchful Hill finally managed a boundary, an off-drive off Bresnan from the 42nd ball he faced.

Shortly before lunch Hill had his second escape, on 21, when he mishit a slog-sweep off Monty Panesar's first delivery only for Prior put down a tough opportunity, diving to his right at midwicket.

In the afternoon Hill unveiled a sudden clutch of previously unsuspected shots; two boundaries in one Panesar over were followed by just the fourth of his innings, a hook off Bresnan, to reach his fifty.

By then, White had lost his patience - getting nowhere near the pitch and underneath an attempted hit over the top off Panesar and holing out to Shahzad at deep mid-off for 23.

Hussey joined Hill, who retreated into his shell again and had added only 12 more to his half-century when he was dropped for a third time just before tea - Davies unable to cling on to an inside edge with Tremlett again the bowler to suffer.

England's effort was undermined by two more missed chances, Hill driving Bresnan through Tremlett's hands at mid-on on 92 and a Hussey carve on 43 off Shahzad finger-tipped by Bell at gully.

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