Moores faces tough choice
England coach Peter Moores looks likely to choose either Steve Harmison or Stuart Broad for the second Test against Sri Lanka.
By Simon Dilger
Last Updated: 07/12/07 7:48pm
With Matthew Hoggard almost certainly out, England coach Peter Moores looks likely to choose either Steve Harmison or Stuart Broad for the second Test against Sri Lanka.
Hoggard batted but could not bowl in practice on Friday and, with one more net session to go, Moores is preparing himself for a tough decision.
While Harmison has struggled in the international game in recent times, Broad is completely untried at this level.
Harmison, 29, once rated the world's top bowler, has experience - with more than 200 Test wickets to his name - but is currently struggling to recapture his best form.
Broad on the other hand performed well in the recent one-day series against the same opposition and would in addition bring a badly needed wag to England's tail.
Moores said: ""Whenever you play someone in a Test match you never quite know.
"Sometimes in a run of Test matches it is a bit easier to know what you are going to get.
"Certainly with Steve or Stuart there will always be an element of risk on how they handle the situation.
"Ultimately the real challenge for Steve will be when he pulls an England shirt on and plays for his country again.
"He will have questions about himself which he will want to answer, if he gets the opportunity in the second Test.
"Steve is an experienced Test cricketer; we know instantly we have got someone who creates bounce and creates pressure, somebody that they won't like to face because they know of his reputation."
Harmison has been hampered by injuries and loss of confidence over the last two years and lasted just 63 deliveries before a back spasm struck, when chosen ahead of Broad against a Sri Lankan second string last month
On the other hand there are doubts about the ability of the 21-year-old Broad's young body to survive the rigours of a full Test.
The 6ft 7ins paceman, still growing until recently, would have to endure three spells a day on consecutive days.
"There is no doubt Stuart has done well: in the one-day series and he has also adapted well whilst he has been here this time," added Moores.
"The challenge with Stuart has always been when to release him into Test cricket.
"He's been pushing very hard. He's adaptable, he has got the knack of taking wickets and he's getting stronger all the time.
"Part of Stuart's thing is getting the physical strength to deliver his skill over a length of time.
"He's probably physically ready: it will be pushing the limits for him; it will be challenging; but I certainly think he has got a Test match in him.
"If he had to play three Tests on the bounce that might be a little bit difficult. But he's strong-willed."
Hoggard took part in a gym session and batted at the Premadasa Stadium in Colombo but did not bowl and risk aggravating the damaged facet joints in his back.
A cold ruled Ryan Sidebottom out of training while fellow paceman James Anderson has a minor ankle complaint
Despite sharing only three wickets during the first Test in Kandy, the SSC is more suited to fast bowlers early on meaning the pair should get the nod ahead of off-spinner Graeme Swann.
"We have to be a bit more savy, a bit more streetwise and find different ways of attacking," said Moores.
"In the first innings you can use swing and seam but the second innings is a bit more subcontinent and you have got to find ways to deliver under these conditions if you are going to win.
"Their seamers were a little bit more innovative with how they bowled second time around."
"We have got to be able to sustain periods of pressure for longer with both bat and ball and if we do those things then we can make it hard work for them.
"One of the worst things we could do is chase the game. If we create pressure there's some fragility there we can expose."
Kevin Pietersen will wear a cast over his little finger when fielding after fracturing it earlier this week.
The 27-year-old batted without painkillers for the first time on Friday.
Teams for the second Investec Test between Sri Lanka and England at SSC, Colombo, starting on Sunday:
Sri Lanka : DPMS Jayawardene (captain), WU Tharanga, MG Vandort, KC Sangakkara, LPC Silva, J Mubarak, HAPW Jayawardene (wicketkeeper), M Muralitharan, WPUJC Vaas, CRD Fernando, SL Malinga, CM Bandara, WRS de Silva.
England : MP Vaughan (captain, Yorkshire), AN Cook (Essex), IR Bell (Warwickshire), KP Pietersen (Hampshire), PD Collingwood (Durham), OA Shah (Middlesex), RS Bopara (Essex), MJ Prior (wicketkeeper, Sussex), P Mustard (Durham), GP Swann (Nottinghamshire), SCJ Broad (Nottinghamshire), RJ Sidebottom (Nottinghamshire), MJ Hoggard (Yorkshire), MS Panesar (Northamptonshire), JM Anderson (Lancashire), SJ Harmison (Durham).
Umpires: Asad Rauf (Pakistan) and DJ Harper (Australia).
Match referee: JJ Crowe (New Zealand).