Stoneman and Vince lead way on encouraging opening day for England

England made an encouraging start to their Ashes tour as Mark Stoneman, James Vince, Dawid Malan and Gary Ballance all made significant contributions with the bat against an inexperienced Western Australian XI in Perth.

Much talk has surrounded the potential make-up of England's top five in Australia, with skipper Joe Root and his predecessor Alastair Cook the only fully established figures.

The absence of key all-rounder Ben Stokes, whose availability for the Test series remains unknown, and an injury to Moeen Ali have added to the tourists' concerns.

Yet there were plenty of positives for England on Saturday, with Stoneman and Vince contributing 85 and 82 respectively to a first-day total of 349-6 that also featured fifties from Malan and Ballance before both men retired to give others time in the middle.

Indeed, the only top-order batsmen to fail were Cook and Root, who made nought and nine respectively. Given the experience and class of both players, neither is likely to be overly concerned as preparations continue for the first Test beginning on November 23 at the Gabba.

England were aided by a number of drops in the field from WA after Nathan Coulter-Nile - a late addition to the home line-up - had accounted for Cook with only the second ball of the innings.

While both received let-offs, Stoneman and Vince were able to score freely, striking 28 fours between them in a second-wicket partnership of 153.

The score read 184-4 when Vince and Root fell in the same over to Aaron Hardie, but Malan (56) and Ballance (51), who are seemingly battling for one spot in the Test line-up, shared another three-figure stand before Jonny Bairstow (36 not out) and Chris Woakes (27 no) played out the remaining overs.

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