Bell given all-clear after scan

Broad also recovers from injury scare ahead of first Test

Last Updated: 16/01/12 5:18pm

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England batsman Ian Bell is available for the first Test against Pakistan after an X-ray on his left wrist cleared him of serious injury.

Bell took a blow in the nets on Monday from one of batting coach Graham Gooch's throwdowns and was taken for a precautionary scan a day before the start of the series opener in Dubai.

He was given the all-clear and will be able to take his usual place in the England line-up.

"Bell's X-ray on his wrist was clear and at this stage we expect him to play tomorrow," said an ECB spokeswoman.

There was also good news for the tourists regarding Stuart Broad, who took a full part in Monday's practice session.

Broad, hit on the foot in the nets on Sunday, appeared to show no discomfort from the bruising sustained then as he bowled on the edge of the square.

The first-choice seamer's fitness will have a major bearing on England's selection as they pore over whether they need a second spinner - Monty Panesar to supplement Graeme Swann - for Test cricket in the hot conditions.

Captain Andrew Strauss was giving nothing away on that score on Monday.

"You have to pick the right balance of the team to win the Test match," he said.

"If it's going to turn a hell of a lot, two spinners becomes an option."

Improvement

England come into the series as the top ranked Test team in the world, having dethroned India courtesy of a 4-0 whitewash last summer.

"There's no way to guarantee these things, but it's about pushing people to go further and people being willing enough to improve," said Strauss.

"We all know if you remain stagnant for any period of time, other teams will catch you and pass you.

"It's very important for myself, (coach) Andy Flower and the side to keep pushing ourselves to get better and keep learning from every experience we have - keeping it in the locker and use it at a time we need it in the future.

"It's all about desire, motivation and hunger. I'm confident we've got a lot of that.

"There's a lot of scope for improvement in our side, and I'll be very disappointed if anyone sits back and thinks we're the finished article - because we're clearly not.

"Sub-continental cricket has not been an area English sides have done particularly well in.

"There's a lot of scope for improvement in our side, and I'll be very disappointed if anyone sits back and thinks we're the finished article - because we're clearly not."
Andrew Strauss Quotes of the week

"That's an immediate hurdle we need to overcome.

"But we're not focusing solely on sub-continental cricket, because we have a big summer as well."

Strauss called on his team to make a fast start to the series.

"The first Test always sets the tone for the rest of the series, so the initial skirmishes are always important," added Strauss.

"We've had a really good build-up; we're pretty comfortable with what we think conditions will be like. But there's always that element of the unknown when you haven't played at a particular ground."

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