Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cricket: Express Suffers England Setback; Harmison Injury Blow

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cricket: Express Suffers England Setback; Harmison Injury Blow

Article excerpt

Byline: By Richard Gibson

ENGLAND are remaining positive over Steve Harmison's latest injury setback, despite there being less than a week before the first Test against Sri Lanka.

The Ashington Express, 29, limped out of the first day against a Sri Lanka Cricket Board President's XI after suffering a back spasm midway through his 11th over, the first of his fourth spell.

Fellow paceman James Anderson sent down the remaining three balls after Harmison departed, clutching the problem area, alongside physio Kirk Russell.

Durham fast bowler Harmison earlier bounced out President's XI captain Tillekaratne Dilshan in figures of 10.3-1-45-1, as he worked up a head of steam on the Nondescripts Cricket Club pitch.

Overall it was a much-improved England bowling display, with the injury worry taking some of the gloss off reducing the hosts to 298-9.

Coach Peter Moores said: "It is a new injury, nothing to do with his old injury, so at the moment he is disappointed, yes, but hoping it's a bit of a twinge.

"Kirk doesn't think it is anything major. Hopefully it is one of those things that settles down in the next 24 to 36 hours. If that's the case we hope he will be able to take a part in the second innings and bowl.

"We will be careful and as it's a practice game he came off straight away. It is not what you want but we hope it doesn't stiffen up too much and will settle down. If it does stiffen up, injuries are injuries and we will have to take it on the chin."

England's management opted to give Harmison a chance to prove himself in this match - omitting Stuart Broad in the process - ahead of the first Test in Kandy, which starts on Saturday.

"He is disappointed because he found good rhythm, he started to hit his straps a little bit and enjoy himself," said Moores. "He was looking forward to having one more crack. …

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