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Eng hit by Vaughan, Pietersen injuries

Pietersen injured his back while batting and retired hurt for 47 despite being strapped up on the field by team physiotherapist.

india Updated: Feb 23, 2006 15:11 IST

England suffered crippling blows ahead of the Test series against India when captain Michael Vaughan and star batsman Kevin Pietersen were sidelined with injuries on Thursday.

Vaughan, 31, was forced to miss Thursday's first-class match against the Indian Board President's XI here after a knee injury sustained on the tour of Pakistan last year flared up again.

Pietersen, 25, injured his back while batting in the match and retired hurt for 47 despite being strapped up on the field by team physiotherapist Kirk Russell.

With just six days remaining before the first Test against India at Nagpur from March 1, an overworked Russell faced a race against time to field 11 fit men for the series opener.

Pace bowler Simon Jones and off-spinner Shaun Udal have been laid low by a stomach bug, while Paul Collingwood is troubled by a sore back.

Spinners Monty Panesar and Ian Blackwell were declared fit to play the three-day match despite also being afflicted by the stomach bug over the last 48 hours.

Vaughan experienced pain and soreness in the right knee that had been operated upon in December, but team spokesman Andrew Walpole was "hopeful" the captain would be fit for the Nagpur Test.

"Michael has had a recurrence of the knee problem that affected him on the Pakistan tour last year," Walpole told reporters here.

"He has been experiencing soreness in the right knee since last week and it had gradually got worse.

"He tested the knee at the nets this morning and it was decided as a precautionary measure to rule him out of the three-day game.

"We are hopeful he will be fit for the first Test," said Walpole.

Vaughan's knee worries have hit England for the second time on tour in the last five months. He suffered the injury while batting during a practice match at the start of the Pakistan tour in October and was forced to miss the first Test in Multan.

Vaughan returned for the last two Tests in Faisalabad and Lahore but opted out of the subsequent one-day series to have surgery in December.

Pietersen, who suffered a rib injury on the Pakistan tour, pulled up after trying to avoid a bouncer from young pace bowler Vikram Rajvir Singh.

Pietersen was treated on the field and returned to hammer 22 runs in one over from Singh, the sequence being 4, 6, 4, 4, 0, 4.

But it was evident Pietersen would not last much longer and even though he had Andrew Strauss to run for him, he retired hurt with England on 123-4.

It was not immediately clear if Pietersen would recover in time for the Nagpur Test.

Vice-captain Marcus Trescothick took charge of the tourists in Vaughan's absence on Thursday, winning the toss and electing to bat first on a greenish wicket expected to help seam and swing bowling.

The second Test will be played in Mohali from March 8-12 and the third in Mumbai from March 18-22. The Test series will be followed by seven one-day internationals.

kl/tha06

First Published: Feb 23, 2006 15:11 IST