Cricket-England’s Moeen winning fitness battle for third test

LONDON (Reuters) – England off-spinner Moeen Ali should be fit to face Australia in the third test at Headingley with his finger injury healing well, according to bowling coach Jeetan Patel.

Moeen, recalled to the test squad after a back injury to Jack Leach, suffered a cut finger in the opening test at Edgbaston and was not selected for the ongoing Lord’s clash.

“Fingers crossed that in the next couple of days, he gets to rest it and he gets to Headingley and he’s ready to go,” Patel said on Saturday.

“It was pretty disgusting at the end of the Edgbaston Test… we’ve tried to look after it as much as we can. It’s looking in really good shape; it’s healed really, really well.”

Moeen’s long absence from red ball cricket was the cause of his troubles at Edgbaston with the more pronounced seam on the Dukes cricket ball, cutting in to his knuckle.

“Mo hasn’t bowled 30 overs (in a day) in a while and that was always going to be part of the risk of bringing him in,” Patel said.

“But we knew that and he knew that — and he still said yes, and we still asked him. Is there a way to look after your fingers? Just bowl. It’s probably the only way to do it.”

(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Hugh Lawson)