Tremlett heads for home as Strauss and Harmison boost England

What is it with the England Test team, can't these fellas stay fit? For four weeks the one-day side flung itself around the outfields of New Zealand without suffering discomfort or injury, but when pristine whites replace the blue uniforms the dressing room suddenly begins to resemble a scene from M.A.S.H.

Fortunately for England most of the complaints, with the exception of Chris Tremlett who will return home before the first Test after re-aggravating the side strain he sustained last weekend, have been nothing more than aches and niggles. But it is still far from reassuring when three of the probable Test side are in regular dialogue with the physiotherapist. Matthew Hoggard paid him a visit too yesterday after leaving the field with an upset stomach.

Paul Collingwood was the latest regular to limp from play after injuring his right hamstring on the opening day of England's three-day match against a New Zealand Selection XI. The ailment is reported to be as severe as Ryan Sidebottom's hamstring injury, a grade one tear, but both are expected to be fit for Tuesday's first Test in Hamilton. Collingwood would have batted yesterday had he been needed.

Despite these ongoing concerns England had an encouraging day here in Dunedin with Stephen Harmison, who has been complaining of a stiff lower back since arriving in New Zealand, and Andrew Strauss producing performances that should guarantee them places in the first Test. Harmison took 5 for 100 as England bowled the Selection XI out for 271, while Strauss finished the second day unbeaten on 55.

Strauss and Kevin Pietersen, who struck his second half-century of the game, allowed England to erase their first-innings deficit, but more runs are required from the middle order if they are to avoid an embarrassing defeat. Strauss batted with calmness and skill and his 50 was warmly greeted by England's dressing room. Strauss has been working on playing straighter since being dropped after the English summer.

The 30-year-old felt he was planting his front foot too far in the direction of off stump when playing forward, an error that caused him to play around his front pad. Now he does not move his right foot so far from leg to off, an alteration that makes it easier for him to get his bat at a straight ball. A glorious straight drive down the ground for four suggested that the left-hander's practice was paying off. Strauss, a specialist opener, was again in early after Vaughan edged a good ball from Mark Gillespie through to the keeper. The England captain will spend the next four days trying to find form in the nets. Alastair Cook wasted another chance for good practice when he top-edged a hook to square leg, and it was left to Strauss and Pietersen to ensure that England avoided a two-day defeat.

The selectors played Tremlett here as a possible replacement for Harmison in case the big man failed to perform well enough, and had he not injured his side he may well have played in Hamilton. His aim now will be to be fit for Hampshire at the start of the season.

Harmison's fortune changed in the fourth over of a 10-over spell when Grant Elliott gloved a leg-sided catch to wicketkeeper, Tim Ambrose. The very next ball bowled Mark Orchard but the hat-trick delivery harmlessly passed through to Ambrose. Bevan Griggs and Jeetan Patel each edged a catch through to the keeper to give Harmison what should have been a confidence boosting five-wicket haul.

Yet at the press conference Harmison, did not seem totally convinced by his performance. "My bowling has got marginally better the more and more I have bowled," he said. "I enjoyed it, and to get a five-wicket haul was great. There were some quick balls, some good balls and some bad balls.

"Lengthy spells seem to be helping me but I don't know how far away I am from where I want to be. I tried a few things out throughout my spell, things I had been working on with Ottis Gibson [England's bowling coach] but there was an element of trial and error. I am the sort of bowler who takes time to get used to being in a different country.

"I will just keep working at it, trying hard and hopefully it will continue to get better and better." Selectors, make what you can from that.

News
people
News
A survey carried out by Sainsbury's Finance found 20% of new university students have never washed their own clothes, while 14% cannot even boil an egg
science...and the results are not as pointless as that sounds
News
Dominique Alderweireld, also known as Dodo de Saumure, is the owner of a string of brothels in Belgium
newsPhilip Sweeney gets the inside track on France's trial of the year
News
Cumberbatch was speaking on US television when he made the comment (Getty)
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Tom DeLonge, Travis Barker and Mark Hoppus of Blink-182 pictured in 2011.
musicBassist Mark Hoppus and drummer Travis Barker say Tom Delonge is 'disrespectful and ungrateful'
Sport
football
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman and David Tennant star in 'Broadchurch'
tvBroadchurch series 2, episode 4, review - contains spoilers
Sport
cyclingDisgraced cycling star says people will soon forgive his actions
News
Britain's Prince Philip attends a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace in London
people
Arts and Entertainment
Ed Sheeran will play three sell-out gigs at Wembley Stadium in July
music
News
i100
News
Lena Dunham posing for an official portrait at Sundance 2015
people
Arts and Entertainment
Under the skin: Sarah Kane in May 1998
theatreThe story behind a new season of Sarah Kane plays
Arts and Entertainment
Preening: Johnny Depp in 'Mortdecai'
filmMortdecai becomes actor's fifth consecutive box office bomb
Sport
Bradford City's reward for their memorable win over Chelsea is a trip to face either Sunderland or Fulham (Getty)
football
News
Lars Andersen took up archery in his mid thirties
video
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea