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Davies thrives on tough day for EPP

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Joe Sayers

Joe Sayers batted for Gauteng Strikers following a pre-match agreement, but only made four before nicking Liam Plunkett behind

The England Performance Programme encountered stiff opposition from Gauteng Strikers on the opening day of their four-day practice match in Pretoria.

Asked to bowl first, the EPP spent 88 overs in the field at the LC de Villiers Oval as the home franchise racked up 311 for six.

Mark Davies was the tourists’ most successful bowler with 4-56, including the wicket of opener Grant Mokoena, who top-scored with 121.

Davies’ Durham colleague Liam Plunkett claimed the noteworthy scalp of EPP squad member Joe Sayers, who was permitted to bat at number three for the home side as agreed before the match. He managed just four.

Davies struck again to leave Gauteng 96 for three, but Mokoena and Shane Burger countered with a fourth-wicket stand of 97.

When Mokoena went, lbw to Davies, Burger pressed on to an unbeaten 105, in a partnership of 98 with Richard Cameron, who made 40.

The EPP were captained by Alastair Cook, and featured five other players involved in the Test squad against South Africa from December - Plunkett, Ian Bell, Ryan Sidebottom, Adil Rashid and Steven Davies.

The EPP, who are based in Pretoria until December 15, fielded 12 players in this match, which does not carry first-class status. Mark Davies will not bat for the EPP.