England are said to be pumped up and ready for the upcoming Ashes challenge against Australia following their warm-up match against Essex. Graeme Swann was on fine form against Essex taking 5 wickets against the team putting him as a key bowler for the Ashes series which kicks off in just under a weeks’ time. Swann played wonderfully against Essex taking 5-58 in a match where England dominated the game with a comfortable 228-run win, despite the bowler taking a knock on his arm earlier in the test and needing x-rays.
The X-rays on Swann’s arm showed that there were no fractures or breaks, only bruising which allowed the England star to carry on bowling for the final day. The warm-up game for the Ashes also allowed some room for the schoolboy, Aaron Beard, who is aged 15, to make his full England debut as they recruited him as the 12th man in their team. Impressively for the youngster, whilst bowling in the nets, he managed to get a wicket on England batsman, James Anderson. Could we have a future England star on our hands here?
A fitness worry for England is that Stuart Broad has missed the match against Essex after suffering with a shoulder injury which he hopes will be fully healed by the time the first Ashes Test comes around. Team director Andy Flower commented on Broad, “I anticipate him being fit for the first Test, but he could not have played in this game.” Stuart Broad is normally England’s captain and it would boost the team spirit and morale if he is able to play for the Ashes.
In this match against Essex on the final day, England batted for the first hour until they declared on 279-4, leaving Essex with the tough task of scoring 415 runs in order to win. After the match, Andy Flower commented, “This bunch of cricketers have fought a lot of campaigns and won a lot together. They are match-hardened – that should give them a lot of confidence. There were great concerns about Swann, we thought he might have cracked his ulna. It would have been a serious blow.” He continued, “We were pretty clear before this game about what our squad would be and what our XI will be.”
England will be going into this Ashes series with lots of confidence after this convincing Essex victory. However, they would still be disappointed with the ICC Champions Trophy loss in the final to India after they played wonderfully only losing one game. The 1st Test is at Trent Bridge on 10th – 14th July, the 2nd Test is being held at Lord’s on 18th– 22nd July, the 3rd Test in at Old Trafford on 1st – 5th August with the 4th Test being at Chester-le-Street on 9th – 13th August, whilst the 5th and final test is at no other place than the Oval on 21st – 25th August.
Author Daniel Foster.
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