Cricket - Broad encouraged despite testing run

Stuart Broad had to work very hard for meagre rewards on on Thursday, but was nonetheless encouraged that he is on track for a Test return next week.

PA Sport
Cricket - Broad encouraged despite testing run
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Stuart Broad is on track for a Test return against New Zealand next week

Broad took just one wicket - his first of the winter in first-class cricket, after his troubles in India - as a New Zealand XI replied to England's 426 all out with 224 for six. On the other hand, he got through 15 overs without significant discomfort from the chronic heel injury which compromised his performances before Christmas.

"I'll sleep well tonight," he said. "It always takes a bit of getting used to but I got through the spells pretty well; it's an encouraging sign."

Broad has played only limited-overs cricket, before this four-day warm-up match at the Queenstown Events Centre ground, since being dropped for the third Test in Kolkata and then having to fly home early while his team-mates were completing a historic series victory in Nagpur in December.

Hamish Rutherford (90) underlined his credentials as a Test opener - he is in line for a debut in Dunedin - with the major contribution for the hosts on day two of four, after Ian Bell (158) added to his overnight century.

Broad then bowled four spells as he and his fellow seamers laboured long and hard before two late wickets in six balls gave England a spring in their step.

"The heel injury is still around. It's going to be around for quite a while," said Broad. "I do need to manage that. It still gets a bit tender towards the back-end of spells but that's to be expected. I didn't feel it too much today, and I hope it will pull up pretty well tomorrow."

He was heartened to have proved to himself and others that he can carry the workload England will need from him if, as expected, he is named as their third seamer next week.

Broad added: "The build-up throughout this tour has been really good for me, starting with Twenty20 cricket, going into the one-day format - and now we have pretty much four back-to-back games.

"So the workload is going to be tough. But you just need to manage that well, and I feel like I'm doing that at the moment. That's why you play these games. You want time in the field; you want to be able to bowl back-to-back spells, but also you want to win the games."

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