Broad shimmers in heat but injury worries persist

Seamer takes three wickets despite pain which threatens to KO his Test place

ENGLAND are still sweating on the fitness of paceman Stuart Broad ahead of next week’s first Test against Sri Lanka despite his encouraging performance yesterday representing a rare highlight for the tourists in a gruelling second tour match.

Broad, who sprained his ankle tripping on a boundary rope last week, was England’s most productive bowler, taking 3-55, as a Sri Lankan Development XI racked up 376-5 on the first day in Colombo.

But the Nottinghamshire seamer admitted feeling pain in the joint during play and tempered optimism by conceding to concerns that he could aggravate the problem and jeopardise his place in the team for Monday’s first Test.

“It felt okay, though I probably wouldn’t say it felt better than okay,” said Broad.

“I was a little nervous this morning knowing I was going to have to pound through that left foot. But it’s pulled up pretty well and if I get some ice on it tonight and rest up hopefully I’ll have no side effects.

“The first spell after lunch it was niggling me a touch but I didn’t take any anti-inflammatories. I wanted to feel what was going on.

“I just have to get the balance right in this game; I have to bowl enough to get myself aerobically fit and physically right but not bowl so much that I pull up stiff and sore with three days to go before the Test match.”

Broad’s condition was not the only source of discomfort for Andy Flower’s men, who were without rested trio Alastair Cook, James Anderson and Monty Panesar, in stifling heat and 80 per cent humidity.

Batsman Chamara Silva pressed home his claims for a Test recall after four years of being overlooked with a commanding 163 off 180 balls as the home side dominated England’s bowlers.

Spinner Graeme Swann was a notable disappointment, failing to snare a wicket in 21 overs at a cost of 102 runs, while Samit Patel fared little better, managing just 1-83 from his 18 overs.

Fast-bowler Steven Finn (1-64) took the other wicket, that of danger-man Silva, whom he sent on his way with a verbal volley that Broad dismissed as just “a couple of cheeky words”.