England hope for Ball boost

11 November 2017 04:29:38 EST

England remain hopeful that injured seamer Jake Ball will be fit and available for the opening Test of the Ashes series in Australia.

Ball fell awkwardly in his delivery stride during the 192-run victory over a Cricket Australia XI in Adelaide, with subsequent scans confirming he has sustained a ligament strain in his right ankle.

As a result, the tourists have called up Sussex left-armer George Garton for another clash with a Cricket Australia XI, which gets under way in Townsville on Wednesday 15th November.

The first Test match begins eight days later at the Gabba in Brisbane and England are upbeat about the chances of Ball having recovered sufficiently to be an option for that encounter.

Fellow paceman Craig Overton, who showed up well in Adelaide, told reporters: "He's feeling good.

"From what I heard, it is sort of a week to ten days. We hope it will be a bit quicker, but we're not entirely sure yet."

Overton took 3-15 in the CA XI second innings as the hosts were demolished for 75 all out, with James Anderson claiming 3-15 and Chris Woakes 4-17.

Meanwhile, Garton is expected to remain with the senior squad only for the match in Townsville, before returning to the England Lions squad, who are also in Australia.

Seam bowling options for England have become somewhat depleted in recent times, with Toby Roland-Jones absent from the tour due to a back problem, while Steven Finn was forced to head home without any match action due to a knee injury.

England are 11/4 to win the first Ashes Test in Brisbane, with the draw 15/4 and an Australian victory 8/11.

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