Stuart Broad set for England return following impressive outing in the Warm-Up game

image-ldx1ts95Broad likely to play in first Test [Twitter]

England's Stuart Broad had a solid outing against New Zealand XI in the warm-up game. As a result, he is certain to make his much-awaited return to the England's playing XI for the first Test against the Kiwis, schedule to take place on February 16.

Broad, who missed the Pakistan Test tour on paternity leave, bowled 10 overs, and had a decent outing as the New Zealand XI were bundled out for 310.

He now looks a sure starter for next week's day-night Test in Mount Maunganui, and is set to partner his old friend, Jimmy Anderson. Ollie Robinson, Jack Leach are the other two options, with Stokes acting as the all-rounder and the fifth bowler for the visitors.

It was widely expected that Matthew Potts was in the reckoning to partner Anderson and Robinson, but after an average outing in the warm-ups, he is all set to miss out on the playing XI.

Skipper Ben Stokes opted to sit out of the two-day warm-up match, and preferred having two lengthy net sessions, but coach Brendon McCullum reckons that he is happy that the captain of the side is sitting on the sidelines.

"Some characters don’t need warm-up games,’ said McCullum, returning to his native New Zealand after his remarkable start as England Test coach. ‘The bigger the competition the more they step up. He's never been a warm-up game kind of guy and I don’t see that changing any time soon."

England's preparation for the first Test can be hampered with cyclone Gabrielle likely to spoil the scenario. However, England are confident heading into the Test series.