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
The Banksy image in Folkestone before it was vandalised
people
Life and Style
tech

Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts

Sport
football West Brom vs Man Utd match report: Blind grabs point, but away form a problem for Van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
Gotham is coming to UK shores this autumn
tvGotham, episode 2, review
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Bloom Time: Mira Sorvino
tvMira Sorvino on leaving movie roles for 'The Intruders'
News
First woman: Valentina Tereshkova
peopleNASA guinea pig Kate Greene thinks it might fly
News
Brian Harvey turned up at Downing Street today demanding to speak to the Prime Minister
news

Met Police confirm there was a 'minor disturbance' and that no-one was arrested

Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010
films

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

Voices
Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary: 'There are pressures which we are facing but there is not a crisis'
voices

Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?

Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

Life and Style
The charity Sands reports that 11 babies are stillborn everyday in the UK
lifeEleven babies are stillborn every day in the UK, yet no one speaks about this silent tragedy
News
Blackpool is expected to become one of the first places to introduce the Government’s controversial new Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs)
news

Parties threaten resort's image as a family destination

Life and Style
Northern soul mecca the Wigan Casino
fashionGone are the punks, casuals, new romantics, ravers, skaters, crusties. Now all kids look the same
Life and Style
gaming

I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title

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

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Salisbury ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities

The city is home to one of the four surviving copies of the Magna Carta, along with the world’s oldest mechanical clock
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album