• India v England, 1st Test, Ahmedabad

Finn likely to sit out first Test

George Dobell in Ahmedabad
November 13, 2012
Steven Finn may have to make do with a watching brief © Getty Images

Steven Finn is unlikely to play in the first Test against India having missed practice on Tuesday.

The England fast bowler was forced off the pitch after four overs of the first warm-up game of the tour against India A and was subsequently diagnosed with a thigh strain. Stuart Broad also missed the third warm-up game with a bruised heel.

While Finn and Broad bowled with impressive pace at practice on Sunday, it seems the England management were unwilling to risk two bowlers in the same Test. Finn barely participated in fielding practice and did not bowl a single delivery in the nets.

While he is not thought to have suffered any injury setback, it seems the England management are keen not to risk his recovery; particularly in a Test that will be played in hot, arduous conditions.

Broad, however, bowled several spells at full pace in practice on Tuesday and appears certain to play. While it is possible that England are attempting to steal a march on India and are simply keeping Finn under wraps - Graeme Swann is the latest spinner to claim he has a mystery delivery - that would be unlike them.

Finn's absence is likely to mean a recall for Tim Bresnan. Bresnan bowled increasingly well in the final warm-up game and, with his ability to reverse swing the ball and bat at No.8, England are set to prefer him to the spin option of Monty Panesar.

It could mean there is no place for Panesar. Samit Patel's good form with the bat and his ability to fill the role of a defensive second spinner will see him come into the side at No.6 as England, with a mind to the balance of the side, ensure they bat deep. Panesar's modest batting continues to count against him.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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