Anderson, Swann included in squad for first warm-up
England have named a full-strength squad for the first warm-up match of their Ashes tour, a three-day game against Western Australia in Perth, with Graeme Swann and James Anderson included after recovering from injury.
Anderson suffered a cracked rib during the team's pre-tour preparation camp in Germany, while Swann bruised a thumb earlier this week after being struck by a rising delivery from Tim Bresnan while batting in the nets.
"We are obviously going to try to give the guys who are going to be in the Test XI as much cricket as possible," said captain Andrew Strauss. "But there are still one or two places up for grabs in that team."
England's second warm-up game is against South Australia in Adelaide, and their preparations ahead of the first Test in Brisbane on November 25 may also include resting their first-choice bowling attack for the third warm-up, against Australia A in Hobart. It emerged last week that England are intending to send their likely Test attack straight from Adelaide to Brisbane in order to allow them to acclimatise to the sub-tropical conditions of Queensland.
"That was one of the options we are looking at," said Strauss. "But nothing is clear enough for us to be able to say that categorically at this stage. I'm not 100% sure what the Test attack is going to be. Also, you may have guys who need another bowl or might be struggling with injuries. So for that to be said at this stage is jumping the gun.
"We definitely want our bowling attack to be as acclimatised as possible to Brisbane. If we have an opportunity to do that, we'll do it; if we don't, then we won't. I'm looking at giving our best XI as good a preparation as possible. Maybe one or two that don't get as much cricket as they would like, I am sure they'll understand the reasons for it."
England's preparations in Perth stepped up in intensity with a four-hour inter-squad practice match in 36-degree heat on Wednesday, and Ian Bell welcomed the increased workload. ''It's completely different practise really," he said. "It's more about getting out there in the game situation, not about how many balls we're hitting.
"It's just about getting back into game-mode. I think we got about 50 overs in the field between us and that's nice coming into Friday. All the talk that the WACA's wicket is getting quicker and quicker again is obviously good [ahead] of going to Brisbane with a bit more pace and bounce. For us, it's a great place to prepare.''
England will be familiar with certain members of the Western Australia team they will face from November 5, although Mike Hussey, Shaun Marsh and Mitchell Johnson are away on national one-day duty with Australia, but one player they won't have seen before is Michael Hogan, the 29-year old right-arm seamer. Mickey Arthur, Hogan's coach at the Warriors, believes Hogan "will trouble any batsman when he gets it right"
"He's a quality performer and he's bowled superbly well all year," Arthur said of the 195cm fast bowler. "I expect him to trouble any batter. He's the type of bowler - and I said this to him the other day - that wouldn't be out of sorts at international level.''
England squad Andrew Strauss (capt), Alistair Cook, Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood, Ian Bell, Matt Prior (wk), Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, Steven Finn, James Anderson, Eoin Morgan, Chris Tremlett