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June 4, 2013
England have been handed a much-needed boost after Stuart Broad and Steven Finn both took a full part in training at Trent Bridge on Tuesday ahead of the final one-day international against New Zealand.
Broad picked up a knee injury in the second Test against New Zealand and Finn had been suffering from shin soreness. The pair had been ruled out of the first two matches of the series and doubts were growing about their chances of making the Champions Trophy, but those worries now appear to be reducing although it remains uncertain whether both will be risked on Wednesday.
Ian Bell said it was a welcome sight to see them in the nets. "They've been two massive performers in one-day cricket for a while for us so to have them back fit - or certainly training today - is a big boost for everyone. It's good to have a full squad competing for places which is what you need going into a big tournament."
In their absence England's reserve bowlers have struggled, especially Jade Dernbach and Chris Woakes, to reinforce how vital Broad and Finn are to England's Champions Trophy hopes.
After the heavy defeat at the Ageas Bowl on Sunday, Cook had sounded worried about his strike bowlers. "They are both a concern but five or six days is still quite a long way away. They've missed two games and been out for a while, so we'll see."
Boyd Rankin, the Warwickshire and former Ireland quick, was drafted into the squad as cover and Bell was on the receiving end of him trying to make a claim for selection on Wednesday.
"Facing him in the nets is absolutely horrible," Bell said. "I didn't enjoy it too much today. It's great to see him charging in in an England shirt."
The fitness of two of their leading strike bowlers has not been the only issue for England over the last few days. The top order, with the exception of Jonathan Trott at the Ageas Bowl, have continued their recent trend of wasting starts.
"A lot of us have got starts and not gone on. That's frustrating," Bell said. "Generally, in the last couple of years, someone in the top four has gone on. Trotty did that for us the other day - which was great - but if another couple of us could do that it would get us into a good position to get good runs.
"We've a great record at home. It's the first series since 2009 we've lost, so it's a strange thing to happen. But tomorrow is a big day. If we can get it right it gives us good momentum going into that series."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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