Seamer Jake Ball declares himself fit for England's Ashes opener

Ross McLean
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England Players Visit The Gabba Pooldeck
Jake Ball, centre, is ready for action in England's Ashes opener (Source: Getty)

England seamer Jake Ball insists he is itching to gun down Australia’s batsmen after declaring himself fully fit for his side’s opening Ashes Test in Brisbane, which starts on Thursday.

Ball, who strained ankle ligaments during a tour match earlier this month, appears to have moved ahead of Craig Overton in the pecking order should England opt for a four-pronged seam attack at The Gabba.

England management are set to have their first meaningful inspection of the pitch today and there remains the possibility to pick rookie leg-spinner Mason Crane if the suggestion is there will be turn.

But Ball’s extra pace and bounce is believed to have pressed his case to surpass Overton in England’s plans, and the 26-year-old is determined to impress should he make his first Test appearance since India in Chennai last December.

“I’m fully fit now,” said Ball. “The last few days in Townsville I was off my full run and I’ve had a few sessions in the field. I’m in a really good position at the minute, feel like I’ve had enough bowling, so I hope come the first day I’ll be raring to go.

“I’m really confident in what I’m doing. I think it made the injury a little bit more frustrating, the fact I was bowling really well. I’ve played club cricket in Australia so I’ve always had at the back of my mind that these pitches can really suit my style of bowling.”

Fellow seamer Stuart Broad is set to be fit to play on Thursday despite having to ice a bruise on his back after being hit by a stray golf ball during a rest day for the England players on Monday.

Australia quick Josh Hazlewood, meanwhile, intends to haunt members of England’s squad with memories of their harrowing series Down Under in 2013-14. He said: “We have guys who played in that series who will remind England what happened.

“We’ll obviously bring that up and hope to open up a few scars of the guys that did tour here last time.”

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