Broad faces fitness test ahead of series opener

ENGLAND have been left sweating on the availability of fast bowler Stuart Broad ahead of tomorrow’s first Test against Pakistan after he was struck on his left ankle by new ball partner James Anderson during a net session yesterday.

Broad, who was left with “heavy bruising” and unable to take part in fielding drills, faces a fitness test today, and with England likely to go with their customary four-man attack against Pakistan, he must prove he is capable of lasting a five-day match by bowling in the final practice session.

England’s pace options have already been reduced following the elbow injury sustained by Tim Bresnan which has ruled him out of the entire series. Chris Tremlett, who starred in place of a stricken Broad last winter in Australia, is also struggling with an eye infection.

With that in mind, England cannot afford for Broad, man of the series against India last summer, to break down midway through the match, although the player himself expects to be available.

He said on Twitter: “Afternoon with my foot up being iced. Jimmy [Anderson] got me with an in swinging yorker. Bowling tomorrow so no worries.”

Anderson added that he also expected Broad to be part of the bowling attack.

“It’s just part and parcel of cricket. You do get the odd knock from time to time,” he said. “Unfortunately, the ball is quite hard – and it was a bad shot.

“It’s not ideal preparation for him but we’ve done plenty of bowling over the last couple of weeks, so we’re in good condition as a bowling unit.”

Star batsman Kevin Pietersen, who struggled for runs during the two warm-up matches, spent yesterday’s session away from the rest of the group to practise alone with with spin bowling coach and former Pakistan player Mushtaq Ahmed.