Broad shines on England comeback
Stuart Broad made an immediate impact on his England return with 4-46 - but the tourists ran into resistance from the ICC Combined Associate and Affiliate XI, Christi Viljoen in particular.
Broad, in his first match since injuring his shoulder at Lord’s in September, struck in each of his first three overs as the ICC XI lurched to 11 for three and then a lunchtime 91 for six after being asked to bat first at the Global Cricket Academy ground in Dubai Sports City.
England found wickets with the ageing ball hard to come by as Viljoen put on 59 for the eighth wicket with Majid Haq and 95 for the ninth with Ireland’s England Lion Boyd Rankin, who made 43 - like Viljoen, a career-best.
The ICC XI had reached 281 when South Africa-born Namibia all-rounder Viljoen was last out, well caught by James Anderson running back from slip off a cut at Broad, agonisingly short of a maiden first-class century.
Broad, who missed England’s limited-overs trip to India in October, wasted no time announcing himself on his first day back at the start of this tour which will contain three Tests, four one-day and three Twenty20 internationals against Pakistan.
But Afghanistan wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Shahzad responded with a counter-attacking 51, and then Viljoen cashed in after lunch and beyond.
Opening the bowling with Anderson in this three-day match, Broad struck with his sixth delivery and had figures of 3-4 at one stage.
ICC XI captain Will Porterfield had just a single to his name when he shaped to push Broad wide of mid-on, only to get an outside edge behind to Steven Davies - deputising as wicketkeeper for Matt Prior, rested due to a bruised finger.
Porterfield’s fellow Ireland opener Paul Stirling crunched Broad past mid-off for four in his next over, but fell to the following delivery when he went for an ambitious pull and deflected the ball down on to his stumps.
Number three Kyle Coetzer then managed only one run before he tried to force Broad off the back foot but instead edged behind, where Davies took a neat catch away to his right.
Broad could have had a fourth wicket in the same over when new batsman Craig Williams pushed low to short-leg - but, off the full face of the bat, Ian Bell could not cling on to barely a half-chance.
Williams and Saqib Ali steered the total past 50 before the latter edged a drive at first-change Steven Finn and was neatly caught low down at second slip by Graeme Swann.
The England off-spinner conceded an off-side four to Shahzad and a straight six to Williams in his first over. But Swann got his revenge when Williams, on 34, edged behind on the forward defence to give Davies his third catch, and then Mohammad Nabi donated his wicket - bowled on the charge for a second-ball duck just before lunch.
Yet Shahzad’s was to be the only wicket to fall in the afternoon until Haq was lbw to Finn from what became the last ball of the session. Shahzad had chipped Anderson tamely to mid-on soon after he had reached his fifty with a streaky four off the same bowler.
Then Scotland all-rounder Haq and Viljoen shut out England in a stand with few alarms for the next hour and a half.
After tea, Viljoen found an unlikely ally in Rankin. They rotated the strike with relative ease on an increasingly benign surface as England, a year to the day after completing their Ashes victory in Sydney, experienced what they can expect over the next eight weeks.
Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook took advantage of the conditions to reach stumps on 16 for none.