England sweat on Harmison's fitness
by CricketArchive staff reporter

Player:SJ Harmison, A Flintoff
Event:England in Australia 2006/07

DateLine: 19th November 2006


England will wait until the morning Sunday to check on the progress of Steve Harmison after the pace spearhead tested his side strain in a nets session here Saturday.


The big Durham speedster pulled out of the tourists' final Ashes warm-up match against South Australia Friday after complaining of soreness on his left side and required a cortisone injection to help him bowl in the Adelaide Oval nets.


Harmison began gingerly off two or three steps but he stepped up the pace before bowling off a longer run.


Captain Andrew Flintoff, also returning to match fitness after mid-year ankle surgery, said Harmison would be re-assessed early Sunday on the team's return to the ground for the final day against South Australia.


"Harmy's bowled somewhere between 12 and 15 overs," Flintoff told reporters. "He's run in, he's bowled and injuries for fast bowlers are part-and-parcel of the job, so we just have to see what happens tomorrow morning, how he pulls up. He's a key player for England, has been for a long time in the Test side. We still want Harmy fit, but we'll know more in the morning."


England coach Duncan Fletcher said Friday Harmison would need to prove the strained side problem, which is a recurrence of the injury that ended his northern summer, was not going to seriously impair his bowling.


"He's not guaranteed for Brisbane (Test) with that problem he's had before," Fletcher said. "So we'll just have too see how this injection goes and what effect it has on him."


Flintoff was satisfied with his steady build-up to next Thursday's Ashes opener in Brisbane. "In the first innings I bowled a little bit quicker than what I have done and I'm pleased with the way I'm progressing," he said. "I've had no ill-effects from the ankle, everything's been fine, I'll bowl a few more overs tomorrow just to top up a little bit."


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