Anderson positive over Broad fitness
Stuart Broad did not bowl in training today, but his new-ball partner James Anderson thinks he will be fit for Monday’s first Test with Sri Lanka at Galle.
Anderson expects Broad to bowl tomorrow and play a full part in the opening Test of two.
“I think his fitness is good,” said Anderson. “He just wanted an extra day off from bowling after the last game. He bowled quite a few overs in the last game and he’s just giving his ankle a little bit of extra time to recover.”
Anderson believes England face a selection dilemma as they ponder the balance of their side.
Ravi Bopara was expected to replace Eoin Morgan at number six for the series, not least because his useful medium-pacers offered England another bowling option in taxing physical conditions.
However, Bopara injured his side this week against the Sri Lanka Development XI and is unlikely to bowl in the Tests.
He may still play as a specialist batsman, but could face increased pressure from Samit Patel and Tim Bresnan as captain Andrew Strauss and team director Andy Flower finalise their side.
“It is going to be a difficult decision obviously, with Ravi not being able to bowl,” added Anderson.
“It’s always difficult going in with just two seamers and two spinners and not having that fifth bowling option.
“It’s slightly different for seamers here because in this heat the spells will be shorter than we’re used to.
“Sri Lanka is probably a place where it is easy to leak runs and that’s something we’re well aware of. Hopefully it’s something we can combat.
“Obviously Trotty and Kevin Pietersen can bowl a few overs but the decision the selectors have to make is whether they want that fifth bowler to be someone who is more capable with the ball.”
Meanwhile, Anderson has told England’s batsmen they have “a point to prove” in Sri Lanka.
The batting line-up has been instrumental in the team’s surge to number one in the Test rankings but, after two years of consistent run-scoring throughout the top seven, they came unstuck in the recent series against Pakistan.
England were whitewashed 3-0 in the United Arab Emirates as Pakistan, led by spinners Saeed Ajmal and Abdur Rehman, bowled Strauss’ side out six times for less than 260.
Things have already looked better at the start of this trip, with first-class centuries from Alastair Cook, Strauss and Jonathan Trott.
There were also fifties from Matt Prior, Patel, Bopara and Pietersen as the tourists chased a fourth-innings target of 359 inside 61 overs against the Development XI.
“They obviously have a point to prove,” said Anderson. “The way we batted in our second innings of the last warm-up game was fantastic. We chased down a really high score in not many overs and we can take a lot of confidence from that.
“All of our top six or seven have had a good hit in the middle on this trip and hopefully they can start well on Monday.”
Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene, however, is looking to looking to spinners Rangana Herath, who took 10 wickets in three Tests with South Africa, and Suraj Randiv to trouble England.
“We don’t have Murali (Muttiah Muralitharan) anymore, but Rangana has been around for some time and he had a great series against South Africa, when he took control of things,” he said.
“He’s in pretty good rhythm. Suraj is pretty good in these conditions too, so those two guys give us some different variety.
“But we’ll have to play good cricket to beat England. Pakistan played really good cricket to beat them and we need to do the same.
“It’s not just going to happen because of the conditions and because of spinner-friendly wickets.”