Stokes, Taylor make centuries in England warm-up

SOUTH AFRICA: Ben Stokes and James Taylor smashed unbeaten centuries as England plundered 470 for five on the opening day of their warm-up match against a South African Invitation XI on Tuesday.

Facing an inexperienced bowling attack, Stokes smashed 158 from 131 balls and Taylor 114 from 152 before both retired to allow others practise time during the three-day game.

Their rally came after England had been in trouble against the new ball when openers Alastair Cook (two) and Alex Hales (eight) were out early to leave them teetering at 10 for two.

Batting at number three, Nick Compton staked a claim for a test place with a neat 58 after Joe Root had scored 28, all in boundaries.

Jonny Bairstow (35) was bowled just before the close by the impressive Thandolwethu Mnyaka (three for 66) and Moeen Ali finished the day unbeaten on 33.

Each side may use 13 players in the game, which does not carry first-class status, and can bat for a maximum of 100 overs.

The first test against South Africa starts in Durban on Boxing Day, to be followed by matches in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Pretoria.