THE good news for England came off the pitch at Buffalo Park in East London yesterday, where the rain came down with England 142-3 in their warm-up for the Test series.
While Essex’s Alastair Cook produced a solid 66 not out against a South African invitation side before for the first Test in soggy Centurion next Wednesday, James Anderson was the talk of a town with not much to talk about when he turned up without strapping on his injured knee.
Seamer Anderson, who took a best-ever 5-23 despite his injury in the decisive One-Day International against South Africa in Port Elizabeth nine days ago, faces further injections in the troublesome joint and could play in the second warm-up later this week.
Having caught up with the squad after staying in Durban for further examination of his knee, Anderson only batted in nets yesterday and coach Andy Flower said: “Jimmy had more injections on Saturday to try to settle things down. He’s reacted well. He’ll play later this week and hopefully he’ll be ready for the Test.
“We are concerned about it. He's one of our main bowlers, he's our strike bowler. He needs a little more time without any bowling and we are giving him that. Two days of middle of practice in the second game should be sufficient for Jimmy."
But it won’t be sufficient for struggling Yorkshire leg-spinner Adil Rashid. The major disappointment of a triumphant one-day series, Rashid has been sent 1,000 miles inland to join the Performance Squad in Pretoria. Flower said: “We have got Graeme Swann with us, so I think it was a good opportunity for Adil to play a four-day game up there on a good pitch and allow Swann four days of cricket here."
But it was Kent’s Joe Denly who impressed for the youngsters. He completed a double hundred on day two against Nashua Titans.
Resuming on 188, Denly added a further 29 to see him past his landmark in a game which does not carry first-class status, while Ajmal Shahzad hit a swift 33 in a stand of 71 for the eighth wicket.
The EPP racked up 425-9 declared, before Shazhad and Sajid Mahmood then shared seven wickets as the hosts were bowled out for 235. Rashid didn't feature among the wicket-takers.