Broad readies for longer-format challenge
Stuart Broad was a tired man after his return to first-class cricket but was feeling positive about how his body was holding up as he aims to regain his spot in the Test team for Dunedin.
The second day against a New Zealand XI in Queenstown was Broad's first outing in the longer format since the second Test against India, in Mumbai, after which he was dropped following two wicketless games in that series. The recurrence of a heel problem that had hampered him early on the tour then then forced him to return home.
He has previously admitted he will need to manage the issue throughout his career but he is hoping to revive his Test career with the aid of new, specially designed boots, which aim to ease the pressure on the troublesome area, and this was the opportunity for a day of multiple spells to test his endurance.
He was the pick of the England pace attack, taking 1 for 35 in 15 overs, and maintained good pace throughout on a slow pitch. His nearest rival for the third fast-bowling spot, Graham Onions, had a poor day as he failed to strike during 16 expensive overs. When Broad had Carl Cachopa caught at second slip after lunch, it was his first first-class wicket since dismissing Dale Steyn at Lord's in August.
"I'll sleep well tonight. It always takes a bit of getting used to," he said. "But I got through the spells pretty well; it's an encouraging sign. The build-up throughout this tour has been really good for me, starting with Twenty20 cricket, going into the one-day format and now we have pretty much four back-to-back games.
"So the workload is going to be tough. But you just need to manage that well, and I feel like I'm doing that at the moment."
Test match cricket is going to be the toughest test of Broad's heel, where there is no opportunity to ease off and, although perhaps not in this series, long back-to-back days in the field are a possibility.
"The heel injury is still around. It's going to be around for quite a while," he said. "I do need to manage that. It still gets a bit tender towards the back-end of spells. But that's to be expected.
"I didn't feel it too much today, and I hope it will pull up pretty well tomorrow. My action feels really nice at the moment. I feel like I'm hitting the crease hard, and getting some good bounce."
Hamish Rutherford, who made 90, praised the work of Broad and was impressed with the England attack even in the absence of James Anderson and Steven Finn who were rested ahead of the Test series.
"Stuart Broad bowled very well all day, he kept running at decent clip," he said. "Woakes also bowled well and it was my first chance to have a look at Swann, so it was very pleasing to spend some time against him."
Although the innings virtually assures Rutherford of a Test debut next week, he refused to be drawn into such a discussion. "I was just trying to bat as I usually do and win each ball. I'll be completely honest, I didn't even think about it. At the end of the day, the longer I spend in the middle that sort of stuff takes care of itself."
Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo