England sweat on Harmison's fitness
by CricketArchive staff reporter
DateLine: 19th November 2006
England will wait until the morning Sunday to check on the progress of
Steve Harmison after the pace spearhead tested his side strain in a
nets session here Saturday.
The big Durham speedster pulled out of the tourists' final Ashes
warm-up match against South Australia Friday after complaining of
soreness on his left side and required a cortisone injection to help
him bowl in the Adelaide Oval nets.
Harmison began gingerly off two or three steps but he stepped up the
pace before bowling off a longer run.
Captain Andrew Flintoff, also returning to match fitness after mid-year
ankle surgery, said Harmison would be re-assessed early Sunday on the
team's return to the ground for the final day against South Australia.
"Harmy's bowled somewhere between 12 and 15 overs," Flintoff told
reporters. "He's run in, he's bowled and injuries for fast bowlers are
part-and-parcel of the job, so we just have to see what happens
tomorrow morning, how he pulls up. He's a key player for England, has
been for a long time in the Test side. We still want Harmy fit, but
we'll know more in the morning."
England coach Duncan Fletcher said Friday Harmison would need to prove
the strained side problem, which is a recurrence of the injury that
ended his northern summer, was not going to seriously impair his
"He's not guaranteed for Brisbane (Test) with that problem he's had
before," Fletcher said. "So we'll just have too see how this injection
goes and what effect it has on him."
Flintoff was satisfied with his steady build-up to next Thursday's
Ashes opener in Brisbane. "In the first innings I bowled a little bit
quicker than what I have done and I'm pleased with the way I'm
progressing," he said. "I've had no ill-effects from the ankle,
everything's been fine, I'll bowl a few more overs tomorrow just to top
up a little bit."