Captain Stuart Broad's bid to return to the England XI ahead of their three-match Twenty20 International series against New Zealand received a major boost on Thursday, when the seamer bowled outdoors for the first time in six weeks.
Sidelined by a heel injury sustained during the opening throes of the tour of India in November, Broad bowled a full five overs off his full run at Eden Park this week.
The right-armer was watched by limited-overs coach Ashley Giles and an England and Wales Cricket Board spokesman later confirmed Broad came through the 30 deliveries with no ill-effects.
He is subsequently expected to be named in the playing XI for Monday's Twenty20 tour fixture in Whangarei before resuming the T20I captaincy in Auckland five days later.
"This is a good position to be in. We've got a lot of strength in depth. We showed that by taking a relatively inexperienced bowling attack to India for the one-dayers, and leaving some really good players behind," commented Giles.
"That's a key for us. We need to look after our good players really well, keep them hungry and on top of their game."