Bresnan injury blow mars England win

Strauss’s return to form overshadowed as skipper confirms all-rounder out of Test series

ENGLAND’S delight at beginning their tour of the UAE with a morale-boosting three-wicket victory over an ICC Combined XI yesterday was quickly tempered by the news that Tim Bresnan has been ruled out of the upcoming Test series against Pakistan with an elbow injury.

The Yorkshireman (right) missed the first of two warm-up matches, which England won after successfully chasing down 261, with a recurrence of a problem that required surgery in December. England are optimistic that the 26-year-old will return in time for the one-day series next month, but hopes of him featuring in any of the three Tests, the first of which begins next Tuesday, were dashed when he failed to come through a net session yesterday.

“Bresnan tried to bowl having had an injection and a good rest,” said skipper Andrew Strauss. “We were all expecting him to be fine. But it’s very painful – and given that, he’s not going to be able to play for two or three weeks, he will be flying home.”

England also have fitness concerns over spinner Graeme Swann, who is set to undergo a scan on a tight leg muscle, and fast bowler Chris Tremlett. The Surrey paceman, vying with Steven Finn to replace Bresnan in the Test team, is struggling with an eye infection.

More encouragingly, however, wicketkeeper Matt Prior has recovered from a bruised finger and will be fit to play in the second practice match against a Pakistan Cricket Board XI tomorrow.

Strauss, meanwhile, top scored with 76 as England completed a tense victory which had been set-up by the skipper’s adventurous declaration on Sunday, when his team still trailed by 98 runs.

England had 69 overs to reach their target after the ICC Combined XI declared on 164-9 and the tourists looked in control when they reached 133-2, but a collapse, similar to the one they suffered in the first innings, meant the margin of victory was slimmer than it should have been.