Combined XI give England a tough start to their UAE tour

England endured a chastening first day on tour in the United Arab Emirates at the hands of Christi Viljoen, despite the immediate impact made by Stuart Broad on his return to the fray.

Broad, in his first match since injuring his shoulder at Lord’s in September, took three wickets in his first three overs as an ICC Combined XI lurched to ten for three and then a lunchtime 91 for six after being asked to bat first.

But if England thought they were in position to finish off their opponents’ first innings quickly, they had not bargained for either Viljoen (98) and Mohammad Shahzad (51) or the realities of trying to take wickets with an old ball in these conditions.

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The Combined XI reached 281 after South Africa-born Namibian all-rounder Viljoen was last out, well caught by James Anderson running back from slip off a cut at Broad, agonisingly short of a maiden first-class century.

Scotland’s representatives in the Combined XI had mixed fortunes. Kyle Coetzer managed only one run before he tried to force Broad off the back foot but instead edged behind, where Steve Davies took a neat catch away to his right. Majid Haq fared better, combining with Viljoen to shut out England in a stand of 60 for 90 minutes.

Viljoen hit 14 fours and a six from 192 balls, and then for good measure Ireland’s England Lions fast bowler Boyd Rankin grabbed a career-best 43 in a ninth-wicket stand of 95 which ended only after Anderson took the second new ball.

Broad, who missed England’s hapless one-day international series in India in October, wasted no time announcing himself on his first day back at the start of this tour which will contain three Tests, four one-day internationals and three Twenty20s against Pakistan.

But Afghani wicketkeeper-batsman Shahzad responded with a counter-attacking half-century from just 56 balls, and then Viljoen cashed in after lunch and beyond.