Relief for England as Graeme Swann gets the all-clear after x-ray shows no fracture

England 413-9 dec Essex 231-9: Swann struck on arm by fast bowler Tymal Mills

Graeme Swann has suffered no fracture to his bowling arm and is expected to return to the field later in England's warm-up match against Essex at Chelmsford.

Most of the crucial action in Chelmsford on Monday  took place off the field. While on the field Essex reached 231 for 9 in reply to England’s first-innings 413 for 9 declared, Graeme Swann was at the local Broomfield Hospital.

After an agonising wait, an X-ray revealed nothing more serious than heavy bruising to the off-spinner’s arm. The England management breathed a sigh of relief to counter the fire breathed by Essex fast bowler Tymal Mills, the man responsible for sending Swann to A&E.

Mills caused high-speed chaos and, for the second day running, required his own branch of the ambulance service. On day one, Joe Root had emergency on-field treatment and yesterday Mills induced a ground-sized gasp when rasping Swann on his right forearm.

While the absence of a fracture to Swann’s bowling arm was reassuring, the 24 overs of spin bowled by Root and Kevin Pietersen were needed by Swann. Instead, in the first hours of the day, he co-starred with Mills in an over that turned into a 13-minute  episode of ER.

Mills followed up his Swann-bashing (someone should educate the  20-year-old on the finer points of the Queen’s royal preogative) by crunching Tim Bresnan’s jaw. Bresnan, on his return to the scene of his career-best 126 not out for England Lions against India in 2007, reached his first century since then with a six off Tom Westley that brought about England’s declaration.

 



That gave the bowlers the opportunity to show their international class against a batting line-up featuring seven of the players who fell all out for 20 against Lancashire last month.

Steven Finn struck with his ninth ball to have Westley caught behind by a diving Matt Prior to test frayed nerves and ended the day’s play with his third wicket of the day.

His first brought New Zealand’s Hamish Rutherford to the crease to play his 17th innings of the year against England. After being  reprieved by Pietersen off Graham Onions’ bowling, Rutherford showed in patches that familiarity breeds contempt.

Luckily for Pietersen – his drop was one of four in the field – Bresnan began his spell by forcing Rutherford to offer up another chance.

The Yorkshireman is behind Finn in the contest for England’s fourth bowling spot but displayed a verve that was initially missing from Finn, despite the Middlesex man’s early breakthrough. As the bowlers bailed out the batsmen on Sunday, so it was left to a batsman to make a serious impact with the ball.

Ravi Bopara warned the pitch was taking spin and Root turned that to his advantage to take career-best figures of 4 for 57. Former England Test player Owais Shah played one onside drive of nostalgic class but had no answer to a Root deliver that spat like fat off the pitch and ended up in Prior’s gloves off the bat.

Root returned to remove Jaik Mickleburgh 10 short of a fine century by holding on to an instinctive  one-handed catch off his own bowling. In between, Finn found some rhythm in his second spell and found Bopara’s outside edge for his second wicket.

It is easy to forget that Finn’s team-mate Onions was so close to selection for the first Test against India over the winter. Yesterday, he served a reminder of why, frequently finding reverse swing and asking key questions of all the batsmen.

In truth, there was only one key question that was being asked in Chelmsford. Luckily, the answer was “No, Graeme Swann’s arm is not broken.”

Chelmsford scoreboard

(Second day of four): Essex are trailing England by 182 runs with one first-innings wicket in hand

Essex won toss

ENGLAND First Innings (overnight) 328-7

Runs 6s 4s Bls Min

T T Bresnan not out 105 1 12 182 226

G P Swann c Bopara b Craddock 94 0 12 133 205

S T Finn lbw b Craddock 0 0 0 1 1

G Onions not out 0 0 0 2 4

Extras (b4 lb8 w1 nb5) 18

Total(for 9 dec, 106 overs) 413

Fall 1-33, 2-73, 3-115, 4-163, 5-175, 6-206, 7-212, 8-399, 9-399.

Bowling D D Masters 21-4-54-0, T S Mills 27-4-108-2, S I Mahmood 17-1-87-2, R S Bopara 14-2-48-0, T R Craddock 18-5-69-5, T Westley 9-0-35-0.

ESSEX First Innings

Runs 6s 4s Bls Min

T Westley c Prior b Finn 4 0 1 9 10

J C Mickleburgh c Bell b Root 90 0 13 146 176

H D Rutherford c Pietersen b Bresnan 27 0 5 42 47

O A Shah c Prior b Root 8 0 1 18 34

*R S Bopara c Prior b Finn 12 0 2 37 43

M L Pettini b Onions 31 0 4 62 86

†B T Foakes c & b Root 20 0 3 52 60

S I Mahmood c Bairstow b Root 17 0 3 17 33

D D Masters lbw b Finn 17 0 2 37 35

T R Craddock not out 0 0 0 8 16

Extras (b1 lb4) 5

Total(for 9, 71.2 overs) 231

Fall 1-8, 2-65, 3-84, 4-121, 5-157, 6-192, 7-204, 8-222, 9-231.

To bat T S Mills.

Bowling S T Finn 17.2-5-56-3, G Onions 18-3-54-1, T T Bresnan 12-2-43-1, J E Root 20-2-57-4, K P Pietersen 4-1-16-0.

Umpires R A Kettleborough and R T Robinson.

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