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Steven Finn likely to miss England Test as Stuart Broad could be fit

Bresnan on stand-by with Finn unlikely to be fit for first India Test but England ready to risk Broad

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UPDATED:

09:02 GMT, 13 November 2012

England are set to go into Thursday’s first Test against India at Ahmedabad without their fastest bowler after Steven Finn failed to bowl in the nets this morning.

Finn has been recovering well from the thigh strain that interrupted his tour only four overs into the opening day of the first match, against India A in Mumbai, but England’s medical staff are unwilling to risk aggravating the injury so early in a long tour.

Instead, Finn will target the second Test at Mumbai, starting on November 23.

Ready to go: Broad came through the latest net session unscathed

Ready to go: Broad came through the latest net session unscathed

But there was better news for Stuart
Broad, who remains on course to play on Thursday after emerging
unscathed from a rigorous workout in the nets. Assuming his bruised left
heel doesn’t flare up again over the next 48 hours, he will take the
new ball against India with Jimmy Anderson.

Finn’s place will go either to Tim
Bresnan or Monty Panesar, with Bresnan – the tour’s leading wicket-taker
so far with nine – favourite to play.

The extra dimensions he provides both
with the bat (he would head a strong lower order at No 8), and in the
field (he is a potential third slip) count in his favour.

But the pitch at the Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad was relaid recently, and is expected to take turn sooner than normal.

Panesar has taken five wickets at an
average of 26 in two warm-up matches on this trip, and his left-arm spin
could be useful against an Indian top seven that includes five
right-handers.

Big loss: Finn missed net practice today and appears set to miss out

Big loss: Finn missed net practice today and appears set to miss out

England wicketkeeper Matt Prior later
agreed that Finn’s chances of recovering sufficiently from the thigh
strain he suffered two weeks ago might have receded.

'The
one thing you would say is, if there was a realistic chance of Finny
playing, then he probably would have had a long bowl today,' said Prior.

He
was more equivocal thereafter, but it nonetheless seems probable that
England feel unable to risk the match fitness of two fast bowlers in a
three-man pace attack and have decided Broad is their best bet.

'We’ll see how he comes in tomorrow – they might be saving it,' Prior added of Finn.

'With an injury like this, every day counts.

Obvious candidate: Tim Bresnan could complete England's attack

Obvious candidate: Tim Bresnan could complete England's attack

'He looks good, feels good; it’s coming along brilliantly. So we’ll just have to wait and see.'

If
Finn has run out of time, Prior concedes the situation is not ideal –
but he is confident England have the resources to cover the tall fast
bowler’s absence.

'It’s a setback. I’m sure coach and captain would want to be able to choose from every player that’s out here.

'But we have a lot of strength and depth in the squad. It’s one thing that’s made our squad so strong over the last couple of years.

'If Finny’s not available, there’s another guy that can step in and do as good a job – that’s the way we look at it.'

Tim Bresnan is the obvious candidate to complete England’s pace attack, alongside Broad and James Anderson.

Confident: Matt Prior (left) is sure England will have enough to overcome India with or without Finn

Confident: Matt Prior (left) is sure England will have enough to overcome India with or without Finn