England won the first warmup match by three wickets. It wasn’t particularly convincing; the bowlers conceded lower order runs in both innings and there were a pair of middle order collapses when we batted. I’m not too fussed though. Whilst it’s good that we take warmup matches seriously, they are still called warmup matches for a reason. None of the players have played competitively since October at the earliest and the Test specialists have not played since August, so a bit of rust is to be expected. The conditions are also completely unfamiliar, so whilst England did not look dominant I don’t think there is anything about which to be worried. Hopefully they will look a bit more assured in the second warmup.
Unfortunately, Tim Bresnan was ruled out of the series with the elbow injury he suffered before the match. It is a blow for England; Bresnan’s stamina would have been invaluable in the UAE, plus his bowling style is probably better suited to the slower wickets than a tall bowler. Finn looks the most likely candidate to replace him, having played in the first warmup match, but with Onions likely to be added to the squad to replace Bresnan I would like to see him get a look in the second warmup. He’s not as quick (as I recall) as Bresnan, but I think he is more like Bresnan than Finn is. I mentioned a couple of months ago that I would like to see him get a Test, and that hasn’t changed. I think Finn is a good replacement, but Onions may be able to get more out of the pitch with his style. Hopefully he will get to play in one of them.