sport

Injury concern for Broad

Stuart Broad's heel injury adds to England's mounting concerns as they continue preparations for the Test series in India.

Vice-captain Broad was set to undergo a scan, after having to leave the field temporarily because of pain in his left foot on day two against Mumbai A.

The seamer returned after four overs but did not bowl again, having managed 10 overs previously - in four short spells - as England's hosts reached 232 for four in reply to 345 for nine declared.

An update on Broad's heel is expected on Monday, when England also hope to discover whether Stuart Meaker - already called in as pace-bowling cover for the injured Steven Finn - has overcome visa issues and will therefore be able to fly to India in time for a final warm-up fixture before the first Test in Ahmedabad.

That opening match of four in what is sure to prove a tough series begins on November 15 - and before Broad also succumbed to injury, it was thought probable Finn's sore thigh would keep him out of the reckoning until the second Test back in Mumbai.

England endured an awkward day all round at the Dr DY Patil Sports Stadium, where they got a longer first look than they might have wished at India number three Cheteshwar Pujara (87) - who shared a third-wicket stand of 163 with Hiken Shah (84 not out).

With or without Broad, it does not appear Pujara for one will be losing any sleep about England's bowlers after his first experience against them.

"I was pretty comfortable against all the bowlers," he said.

"I guess, since I've scored runs, I'll have learned more (than them).

"I hadn't faced many of England's bowlers before, so it was important I got some practice (against them) before the Test series.

"I could get used to their actions, what kind of strengths (they have) and strategies against me."

Pujara eventually fell to Monty Panesar, and described England's left-arm spinner as the "pick" of the attack.

It remains unlikely Panesar will feature in the first Test. But whoever does, Pujara is expecting them to up their game.

"It won't be the same in the Test match, because I think the intensity will be higher.

"I think their fielding was not quite up to the mark here, but will be in the Test."

Pujara's approach was reminiscent of the discipline employed by the great Rahul Dravid, a batsman known universally as 'The Wall' and one England - and most other nations - found especially difficult to displace for many years.

"It's not quite the same, but I guess I can see where you're coming from," Panesar said of that suggestion.

"He accumulates his runs; he's not going to come after the attack, and just plays a patient game.

"He's a very patient player, an organised cricketer."

Even so, Panesar senses Pujara may find things tougher in more exacting conditions - and he was happy too with England's tenacity.

"I think if there's a little bit more pace in the pitch, he's a little bit vulnerable early on - because of the extra carry.

"They obviously played well. But the boys put in a good effort, and we didn't make it easy for them either.

"I thought as a unit the guys did really well today."

Optimistic Panesar has not given up either yet on Finn returning to full fitness in the next 10 days.

"He's in good spirits," he said.

"It's not a major thing - which is really good for us - and we hope he can recover in time and be available for the first Test."

Seam bowlers' injuries are not England's only troubles, as the Test series looms.

Neither Joe Root nor Nick Compton has yet put forward a good case - ie made substantial runs, in three innings between them - to make a Test debut as Alastair Cook's new opening partner. As long as England's depleted attack can muster six more wickets between them, that issue at least may become a little clearer on Monday.