Wedding can wait for Briggs

With just one ODI and a T20 under his belt, few would expect him to make it to the final XI.




Colombo:
Hardly anyone would be willing to trade away the opportunity to walk down the aisle with his lady love.

But when you are beckoned for national duty in a world-level sporting event, what would you pick? Little-known left-arm spinner Danny Briggs has made his choice. “We’ve had to push the wedding back to October because I got picked to play here. I hope I get the opportunity to play and bowl well to sweeten it a bit for her,” Briggs said after taking three for 15 and helping England win their second and final warm-up match against Pakistan at the P Sara Oval here on Wednesday.

Briggs is a new face in the England squad. With just one ODI and a T20 under his belt, few would expect him to make it to the final XI, unless the pitch is a rank turner and captain Stuart Broad decides to play him alongside Graeme Swann and all-rounder Samit Patel.

But with Swann rested, it was Briggs who was given the responsibility of opening the bowling, and it worked well.

In the sweltering mid-day heat, England bowled and fielded brilliantly to defend a modest total of 111, despite the fact that the pitch was slow and not conducive to stroke- making.

Briggs bagged the big wicket of captain Mohammad Hafeez in the first over itself. Imran Nazir then got after him, but the 21-year-old from the Isle of Wight retaliated by beating him in the air, with Craig Kieswetter whipping off the bails in a flash.

Briggs returned in the 13th over to get rid of the dangerous Umar Akmal, reducing Pakistan to 67 for five and putting England on top. “It came out really nicely, which is pleasing and really good in our preparation. It’s good to go into a tournament with confidence, and I hope that can carry on,” Briggs said of England’s victory in both their warm-ups.

England had lost their last five wickets for just five runs, but Briggs and pacer Jade Dernbach (three for 14) made sure that Pakistan batsmen didn’t come back to haunt them.

Broad himself took two wickets for 12, and was virtually unplayable at times.

“Some of the lads struggled towards the end — it was hard to manoeuvre the ball around. But we were always in the game, and the way we bowled in the second half, it was pleasing,” Briggs said.

Broad also praised his wards. “Strongest bowling and fielding performance we’ve had for a while, amazing. Great momentum leading into out 1st WC game on Friday,” he tweeted.

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