KEEPING LORD'S WORLD CLASS
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England’s first-choice bowling attack will fly to Brisbane ahead of the rest of the squad on Wednesday - missing the final warm-up fixture with Australia A in Hobart.
The bowlers will have extra time to acclimatise to the conditions in Queensland, where the first Test starts on November 25.
Assuming Stuart Broad, James Anderson, Steven Finn and Graeme Swann stay fit, they are now certain to line-up on the first day of the series.
England’s policy of selecting their strongest side for the two opening warm-up matches has apparently paid off, with the quartet deemed to have enough match practice under their belt ahead of the Test.
A head start
The four, who also played all four Test’s in the 3-1 series win over Pakistan in England this summer, impressed against Western Australia and South Australia.
Despite only Anderson having played Test cricket Down Under, all four have looked in confident mood, with 21-year-old Finn in particular acclimatising impressively.
On previous tours observers have criticised the Australian policy of hosting England’s final warm-up match in the Tasmanian city - in conditions far removed from those in Brisbane.
England’s preparation for this series has been more measured than in recent tours however, aided by the settled nature of the squad.
Stuart Broad has impressed with some consistent performances so far on the tour and is happy for the attack to turn their attention to the series opener already.
"Obviously, conditions can be quite different up in Brisbane - so we're getting a bit of a head start and three or four days extra up there." said Broad.
"We've had two fantastic games as a bowling group together.
"Now it's all about preparation for that first Test match - and I see going up to Brisbane early as a great opportunity to get used to conditions."
Cook silences the critics
Alastair Cook hit an unbeaten 110 on the final day of England’s draw with South Australia to silence any dissenting voices over his form.
The Essex opener put on 181 with Andrew Strauss for the first wicket with his skipper blazing his second century of the tour - 102 from 121 deliveries.
Rain ended any chances of a result but of England’s batsmen, only Jonathan Trott has failed to pass a half century from four innings.