Gary Ballance hits half-century in tour match

Gary Ballance in action during day four of the LV County Championship division One match between Yorkshire and Middlesex at Headingley on September 20, 2013
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Gary Ballance stakes his claim to replace Jonathan Trott in England's side for the second Ashes Test by top scoring in their tour match with the Cricket Australia Chairman's XI.

Gary Ballance played himself into Ashes contention with the standout innings in England's poor batting display against the Cricket Australia Chairman's XI on Friday.

The Yorkshire middle-order player has been tipped to replace Jonathan Trott in the second Test at Adelaide and was given the chance to impress in his number-three slot in Alice Springs.

Trott has flown home to England to begin his recovery from a stress-related illness, and Ballance, Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow are thought to be the three candidates to replace him in the team.

Ballance put together a well-constructed 55 before he was ran out following a mix up with Ian Bell, who was later caught behind to leave England reeling on 149-6 against a relatively unknown bowling attack.

Durham all-rounder Stokes made 28, while Bairstow, who played in four of the five Ashes Tests against Australia last summer, was unbeaten on 31 when England declared on 212-7.

Wicket-keeper Matt Prior (19) continued to struggle for form, while Joe Root (22) and Michael Carberry (6) also failed on a day which ended with the hosts 16-0 from their 10 overs.

Jonathan Trott of England looks on during day one of the 3rd Investec Ashes Test match between England and Australia at Old Trafford Cricket Ground on August 1, 2013
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