there are question marks over Stuart Broad’s participation in the second match of England’s tour of Sri Lanka, starting today.
The seam bowler bowled yesterday for the first time since spraining his ankle minutes before the first warm-up game on Thursday, forcing him to withdraw.
Broad would be a certainty to play in the first Test in Galle on March 26 if fully fit but, should England choose not to risk him against the Sri Lankan Development XI, it would mean plunging him straight into Test duty having had no match practice in energy-sapping heat.
Broad looked tentative at the start of the tourists’ training session, running gingerly and lagging a long way behind his team-mates in the sprint drills, but was able to bowl in the nets.
After a slow warm-up he was approaching full tilt by the end of his spell and went on to bat as well.
Broad’s fitness doubts could give Steven Finn another chance to impress, while England may also choose to give Tim Bresnan a match as they contemplate whether or not they will need him as a fifth specialist bowler for the Test series.
Opener Alastair Cook batted for a full day in the last practice match so could be rested as Flower looks to give other batsmen some much-needed time in the middle.
Samit Patel will be hoping to get the opportunity to push his claims after being overlooked for Ravi Bopara against the Board XI.
Flower is targeting another professional display after a ruthless innings victory in the first game.
Sri Lanka will arrive back for the Test series having just contested the limited-overs Asia Cup in Bangladesh and Flower is hoping his side can take the edge in terms of preparations.