England sweat on Finn fitness

Ahmedabad: England sweated on the fitness of their injured fast bowler Steven Finn ahead of their opening Test match against India at the Motera Stadium here from November 15 to 19.

The 6-foot-7-inch pacer did not bowl in the practice session of the team for the second day running today after raising hopes of recovering from his leg injury two days ago.

The Middlesex player bowled five overs at the nets on the final day of the tourists` last warm-up game on Sunday at the outer ground of the Motera Stadium against Haryana. He did not bowl at all on Monday and this morning.

The 23-yar-old bowler had limped off with a right thigh muscle strain after bowling only four overs in the tourists` opening warm-up game against India `A` played at the Brabourne Stadium from October 30-November 1.

Stuart Meaker, another young fast bowler, has been flown in as a cover for Finn and also played in the four-day game, but he will go back home once the latter recovers from his injury.

Wicketkeeper batsman Matt Prior today said after the team`s morning nets that he did not know the exact reason why Finn did not bowl, adding he would certainly have bowled a long spell if he had a "realistic chance" of playing in the series opener.

"I don`t know (why Finn did not bowl in the nets today). But one thing you could say -- if there`s a realistic chance of Finn playing then he probably would have had a long bowl today," he said.

We will see how he comes on tomorrow as well. It is another day. He looks good feels good and coming along brilliantly. So we will have to wait and see," he added.

Asked how much of a setback would it be if Finn, who has taken 66 wickets in 16 Test matches, is not available to play in the series opener, Prior said the team has a lot of depth to overcome the handicap.

"We have a lot of strength and depth in the squad. If Finn is not available there is another guy who can come in and do as good a job," he said.

England, however, have reasons to smile as their vice-captain Stuart Broad, who picked up a heel injury in the second game against Mumbai `A` at D Y Patil Stadium, batted and bowled at the nets today.

Broad, too, missed the better part of England`s preparations, having sat out of the opening game and bowled only 10 overs in the second warm-up game before getting injured. He missing the rest of that game as well as the last practice game held here.

Meanwhile, Graeme Swann, who had returned home after the second game to be with his newborn child who was unwell, has rejoined the squad in time for the Test series opener.


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