Cook, Broad to miss first warm-up game

England

England will likely be without skipper Alastair Cook and fast bowler Stuart Broad for their tour match against Western Australia starting on Thursday, after both players picked up back niggles.

England will likely be without skipper Alastair Cook and fast bowler Stuart Broad for their tour match against Western Australia starting on Thursday, after both players picked up back niggles.

The pair apparently found themselves with stiff lower backs after their long journey to Perth from the UK, and will probably not be risked ahead of the first Ashes Test on 21 November. They did not train on Monday or Tuesday.

But batsman Ian Bell said they were not concerned about Cook's back, saying on Tuesday: "I'm sure he'll be fine. He's had the odd little niggle with the back, which I suppose we all have certain areas we have to keep working on.

"Obviously a long flight isn't always easy. I'm sure he'll be right in the next week or so."

England will play three warm-up games before the opener in Brisbane, leaving plenty of time for the senior players to get back in the middle. This also allows time for fringe bowlers like Chris Tremlett to make a bid for the third seamer spot.

Cook had said last week that Broad and James Anderson would be the two certainties, leaving one spot open in the pace attack for Tremlett, Boyd Rankin and Steve Finn to compete over during the build-up.

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