Stuart Broad's fitness lifts England despite defeat in warm-up


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The Independent Online

England headed south for Auckland disappointed to have lost their final warm-up match, but encouraged by a clutch of impressive individual performances at Whangarei’s Cobham Oval.

Stuart Broad’s second three-wicket return in as many days brought him combined figures of 6 for 46 after one comfortable win and then a narrow defeat against a New Zealand XI.

England’s Twenty20 captain has therefore done as much as reasonably could be expected to prove his own form and fitness after the heel injury which cut short his Test tour of India before Christmas.

Broad also produced an athletic catch to see off danger man Colin Munro as England, from an unpromising position, took the outcome of the game to the last ball before the hosts overhauled 170 for 5 with three wickets in hand.

Tom Latham’s career-best 64 helped the New Zealand XI past England’s par total, which owed most to more clean and inventive striking from Eoin Morgan (51 not out) and Jos Buttler (51).

In what was almost an action replay of the tourists’ first batting performance at the same venue 24 hours earlier, the middle-order pair were the most telling contributors after a solid but unspectacular start from the batting order above them.

There were two differences, though. First, it was Michael Lumb rather than Luke Wright who was the pick of the top three – following Tuesday’s 25 with 45.

More significantly, despite Broad’s best efforts and a tidy spell too from Samit Patel, this time England’s bowlers were unable to defend their total – and they will therefore begin a three-match Twenty20 series against New Zealand on Saturday with a mixed report from their warm-up campaign.

In India, England’s women start the Super Six stage of the World Cup against Australia on Friday.