Broad happy with shoulder recovery
Stuart Broad, the England fast bowler, has said he is satisfied with how his shoulder held up during his first day of competitive cricket in four months. Broad took three wickets in his first three overs against an ICC Combined Associate and Affiliate XI on the opening day of the first warm-up match of England's tour of the UAE.
The injury had forced Broad to miss the limited-overs tour of India last year, and came soon after his Man-of-the-Series performance in the home Test series against them in the summer. "The shoulder seems fine, I think it was mid-November by the time it completely healed," he said after the first day's play in Dubai. "It seems to be back really stronger than it was before, that's pleasing."
The ICC XI hit back after the early losses, and tested the England bowlers almost until the close of play. From 90 for 6, half-centuries from Afghanistan's Mohammad Shahzad and Namibia's Christi Viljoen lifted the ICC XI to 281.
Broad felt the hard work would help the bowling line-up during the Tests against Pakistan. "The conditions have been great because I think they are similar to what we will face in the Test matches," he said. "It is going to be crucial for us in the Test match series to use the new ball and the second new ball wisely.
"That period, from overs 50 to 80, is going to be a real holding role. We are not going to be able to burst through because the pitches are not going to be suited to that."
Over the past two years in the UAE, teams have run up ten Test totals in excess of 300, and only been bowled out four times below that score. Broad expected the Pakistan series to be similar, with a tough grind awaiting the bowlers. "It will be attritional cricket, going at two-and-a-half or three runs an over, fielding for long periods of time, trying to bowl teams out for 300 to 350 and probably fielding for 120 overs. It will be old school Test cricket, I suppose."
After the current three-day game, England have another one against a Pakistan Cricket Board XI before the first Test starts on January 17.