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Broad will make call if he is fit for Test

 

Stuart Broad
Stuart Broad

By Rory Dollard

England will ask Stuart Broad and Jofra Archer to make an "honesty call" about their fitness for the Boxing Day Test, with Broad's vast experience making him a likelier option to take the field against South Africa.

Both men have been struck down by illness on the first week on tour and head into the series opener having sat out all five days of warm-up cricket, which concluded three hours ahead of time yesterday with early handshakes in a low-key draw against South Africa A.

Spinner Jack Leach is similarly undercooked but he looks set to miss out anyway, with England seemingly ready to rely on the part-time spin of captain Joe Root and Joe Denly. The question of what to do with Broad and Archer is considerably thornier, with both men first-choice selections at full power.

Broad is understood to have progressed best over the past couple of days, during which all three players have made gentle returns to the nets, and took part in the longest practice session on Sunday. With 134 caps and a dozen years of Test cricket to his name, he knows as well as anyone what he can put his body through if required.

The case for Archer is less clear-cut. England would dearly love to use his express pace and star quality at Supersport Park but he has been hit hard by the bug and, with just six Test and 35 first-class matches under his belt, may be less certain about what he can put himself through.

" It's a case of making an honesty call. I'm sure the guys will make the right decision, said captain Joe Root.

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