England in Bangladesh 2009-10 March 5, 2010

England sweat on Broad and Onions

Cricinfo staff

England face an anxious wait to see if Stuart Broad and Graham Onions will be fit for the Test series against Bangladesh although were boosted when scans showed no major back problems in the two pacemen. They are hopeful the pair will be available for the first Test against Bangladesh on March 12 although neither will play the warm-up match starting on Sunday.

England's pace attack has been hit by a spate of injuries with Ryan Sidebottom ruled out of the Test series after aggravating a thigh problem during the first ODI, while Broad picked up his back problem during the second match and Onions has been struggling since arriving for the Tests.

"Both players have back spasms as a result of bowling. MRI scans have ruled out any new acute injuries," said an ECB statement. "Neither will be available for the warm-up game. Both will continue to undergo a programme of rehabilitation with a view to being available for the first Test."

Although the fears of both being sent home have receded for now it is hardly the perfect preparation for a Test series, especially with England already without James Anderson for this tour.

"It's obviously not ideal," said Alastair Cook. "There is good news today with the scan showing no major structural damage, but we all know that backs with bowlers are very important, so we've got to work hard on those guys and keep our fingers crossed.

"We can only let the back spasms settle, and hopefully they can be fit. Ideally they'd need some overs under their belt in the three-day game, but we can't have that so we have to wait and see and play it by ear."

Tim Bresnan, who claimed a career-best 4 for 28 in the final ODI, will remain on the tour as a replacement for Sidebottom and was England's stand-out quick during the one-day series.

"Bres was fantastic," said Cook. "All his overs were in the tough Powerplays, he stood up to be counted, as he has done in the last three games, and he thoroughly deserves his call-up to the Test team. He knows where it's going, he's very confident, talking to him in the Powerplays, he's setting the fields and bowling to those fields which takes a huge lot of skill. He's putting his name forward."

Meanwhile, Steven Finn, the uncapped Middlesex quick, has been called up as cover for Broad and Onions. Ajmal Shahzad and Liam Plunkett are the other squad pacemen and both played the one-dayer in Chittagong with Shahzad taking a wicket with his third ball.