Sri Lanka v England, 2nd Test, Colombo December 8, 2007

Hoggard ruled out of second Test

Cricinfo staff

Matthew Hoggard has failed to recover in time from a back injury © Getty Images
Matthew Hoggard, the England fast bowler, has been ruled out of the second Test against Sri Lanka at Colombo which gets underway tomorrow.

Hoggard was plagued by a back injury in the first Test and his absence was confirmed by the England captain, Michael Vaughan. However, neither he nor the coach, Peter Moores, could confirm the bowler's replacement, though Steve Harmison and Stuart Broad are the two likely candidates.

"We haven't seen the wicket yet," Moores said. "We have the option of a second spinner in Graeme [Swann] or continuing with a three-man seam attack, but we'll assess the conditions when we see the pitch.

"We're 1-0 down in the series and have to win in Colombo to keep our hopes of a series win alive so we'll be looking to select the best possible XI to help us do that."

If Harmison is picked, it'll be his first Test since he played against West Indies in June. Harmison spent a few weeks in South Africa prior to England's tour of Sri Lanka, playing domestic cricket in a bid to return to full fitness.

"I'm confident both Harmison and Broad are ready. Harmison has worked hard in the nets, while Broad's played cricket recently here in the one-dayers and, again, he looks in good form," Moores said.

"We're quite happy with our options."

England have other injury concerns, too, with James Anderson still suffering from an ankle problem he sustained during the warm-ups, though the management still expect him to play at Colombo. Kevin Pietersen, who fractured his finger at Kandy, batted in the nets on Saturday without painkillers and Moores said he should be fine to play.

The second Test begins at 10.00am (4.30am GMT) on Sunday.