England in Sri Lanka 2011-12 March 19, 2012

England wait on Broad's fitness

ESPNcricinfo staff

England will make a late decision over whether Stuart Broad is fit for the final warm-up match ahead of the Test series against Sri Lanka. Broad turned his left ankle shortly before the start of the three-day game against the Board XI in Colombo and was withdrawn from the contest.

He trained with the squad ahead of the second three-day outing and began to move more freely as Monday's session progressed, but the management had still to decide whether to give him an outing against a Development XI or hold him back for the first Test in Galle, which starts on March 26. Ideally for England, Broad would play ahead of the Test so he can continue to adjust to the heat and humidity during the short series.

"He's been recovering okay and he will be fitness tested this afternoon. After he's had a bowl we'll decide whether we are going to play him," Andy Flower, the England team director, said. "That decision could be made after training or in the morning when we see how he pulls up then."

In Broad's absence, Steven Finn played against the Board XI and collected four wickets in the match, continuing the good form he showed during the one-day series against Pakistan in the UAE. James Anderson claimed match figures of 7 for 40 and England also have Tim Bresnan available as another pace-bowling option.

Broad and Anderson had formed a formidable new-ball attack in the UAE and England's 3-0 whitewash had nothing to do with the performance of the bowling unit. England ended that series playing two quicks and two spinners, as Monty Panesar returned to partner Graeme Swann, and the indications are that they will continue with that balance against Sri Lanka. Panesar took 5 for 37 in the first innings against the Board XI and Swann claimed 3 for 33 in the second as both got overs under their belts ahead of the first Test.

England could also benefit from Sri Lanka's schedule, which will see them complete their Asia Cup campaign on Tuesday before a quick turnaround heading into Galle, although failing to reach the final means they have three extra days to prepare.

"I think it is probably not Sri Lanka's ideal preparation," Flower said. "They are very experienced cricketers and they will be used to switching from one format to another. But I think they might be slightly undercooked on that front and obviously we'd like to take the initiative.

"There's still some acclimatisation time left before the first Test and this game is part of that," Flower added of England's preparation. "Our guys played superbly in the first three-day game. Now we have another and we would like to play to win that as well getting the right time in the middle that our guys need.

"Our preparation has been excellent so far and I imagine by the first Test we will be ready."

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  • John on March 20, 2012, 23:08 GMT

    @Nutcutlet on (March 20 2012, 19:51 PM GMT) I'd say one of our best 2 bowlers was playing today and did quite well. I'm still glad they didn't overbowl Broad. I'd say you can still have Patel in the same side as Swann and Monty. Patel is primarily a batsman and his bowling is a bonus - maybe (and this will sound disrespectful) like a poor man's Hafeez. It was a very bad day for England today apart from Broad and maybe Bresnan showing control if not taking wickets. Maybe this is a belter to bat on and the lower middle order can fill their boots but then again it could be that because it is such a decent batting track it will not show a true reflection on how our batsmen are doing. Well played Silva for SL. Having said that I wasn't getting carried away by the win in the 1st match so I'll try not to be too down after this bad day at the office

  • John on March 20, 2012, 11:04 GMT

    @zenboomerang on (March 20 2012, 05:36 AM GMT) To be honest I would not have moved Prior up to 6 unless we had played the 5 bowlers. I'm maybe guessing that I have another ally in my 5/1/5 formation. I will go back again to when we beat a decent Oz side in 2005 (our best series win in recent times) when we played a 5/1/5 formation. People say our batting would be significantly weakened. Take out the fact that I have little faith in our lower middle order , in 2005 we played Flintoff at 6 and Jones at 7. By playing the 5/1/5 now it would be Prior at 6 , Broad at 7. I'd say MP andSB would be better than AF and GJ. P is definitely a better batsman than F. Surely if that formation was good enough to beat the might Oz side (and I mean mighty and not the version we beat last 2 times) it is good enough now. Surely you should play to your strengths.

  • Dummy4 on March 20, 2012, 10:44 GMT

    Chamara Silva has scored 163 and shud be in our test team. Ranjan Rodrigo

  • Dummy4 on March 20, 2012, 10:08 GMT

    @Perera32 and the Sl team have got a nowling attack that can do better right?!? Its not Swan who will be the danger but englands pace attack.

  • Suss on March 20, 2012, 8:28 GMT

    What a biased headline, SL develpement XI is 180/2. hahah Big Mouth Graeme Swann is getting hit all around the ground, his rpo is 6 lol. England bowlers will swing the ball in the first 10 overs, after that it will be a long 2 days in the field.

  • Roo on March 20, 2012, 5:36 GMT

    @JG2704... The SL Board XI team is the weakest I've seen in years - batting & bowling... The Asian Cup hasn't helped - of course... England may as well bowl its fittest bowlers for match preparedness for the 1st Test... Considering it is only a "lollypop" tour of just 2 Tests makes holding back a bowler pointless - afterwards a 4 wks break before WI's at home... Going with a 5/1/5 team will not hurt England as the no.7-11 get more runs than the middle order batmen lately... I also mentioned before the UAE Tests that Prior should move up the order to no.6 & that move may have changed that series results... No good crying now, I guess :( ...

  • John on March 20, 2012, 0:53 GMT

    I don't know that it's a bad thing if Broad doesn't play. He was in excellent form all through the Pakistan tour and he's found the range on slow, low pitches. If he's not 100%, putting him in there might upset his rhythm. I don't know why England would think of playing 3 seamers on pitches like these; I'd prefer to see them play 2+2 with Samit Patel as a third spin option/#7 batsman. What England need most is for Bell, Trott and Prior (especially Bell) to get some time at the crease in this warm-up game. A couple of fifties between those three would bring England into the tests in great shape.

  • des on March 19, 2012, 22:35 GMT

    I'll miss his little hissy fits.

  • R on March 19, 2012, 22:28 GMT

    randyoz, with ponting scoring 1 & 6 and shtraya getting beaten by the WIndies your country needs u mate, so troll off to your own pages and see u next summer...

  • John on March 19, 2012, 22:25 GMT

    @YorkshirePudding on (March 19 2012, 15:14 PM GMT) You are saying Bres may get a chance if Broad is unfit right? You surely can't mean that Bres should go in ahead of our most consistent paceman from the last year. For what it's worth I'd like to see Broad take another game out if he's not fully fit and maybe rest Jimmy too and see how Bres and Finn compare in the same match. They could play all 3 plus Monty and Swann but I think they feel this is illegal and would be unfair on the omitted batsman.

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