Yorkshire pace pair left fighting to replace injured Broad

YORKSHIRE's Tim Bresnan and Ajmal Shahzad are poised to go head-to-head for a place in the third Ashes Test.

The pace bowlers are vying with Surrey's Chris Tremlett for inclusion in the game at Perth, where victory would see England retain the Ashes.

Bresnan, Shahzad and Tremlett face a three-man shoot-out during the warm-up match against Victoria in Melbourne, starting on Friday, to replace injury victim Stuart Broad.

Broad's tour is over after he tore a stomach muscle during the innings win in Adelaide that put England 1-0 up.

Tremlett is arguably favourite to get the nod; he would represent a like-for-like replacement on a WACA surface that would suit his pace and bounce.

But Bresnan and Shahzad have impressed the England management during recent months and either could step in to partner first-choice pace bowlers James Anderson and Steven Finn.

After being ruled out of the last three Tests and subsequent one-day series, Broad faces a race against time to be fit for the World Cup, starting in February.

The Nottinghamshire star will return to England to embark on an extensive rehabilitiation programme and is confident whoever replaces him in Australia will not be fazed.

"It's a great opportunity for whoever takes my place," said 24-year-old Broad.

"Everyone is capable of stepping up and delivering.

"It will be hard to leave the changing room because it's a fantastic place to be.

"The lads have a fantastic opportunity to win the Ashes, and I just hope they keep playing this sort of cricket without me."

Broad is optimistic he will be fit to play in the World Cup.

"It's eight to 10 weeks' rehab, and the first World Cup game is nine weeks away," he added.

"But the thing about that World Cup is that it goes on for years, so even if I miss the first game I'll still be available for the end of it."

Broad said he was devastated to be departing the Ashes tour and instinctively realised his injury was serious.

He pulled up on the fourth afternoon at Adelaide as England pursued second innings wickets.

"Within two or three balls of my spell, I knew I was in big trouble," he added.

"I immediately said to Jimmy Anderson, 'I might be struggling here'. I got through a few overs, but it felt like someone stabbing me in the stomach.

"I put a couple of bouncers in and I could hardly breathe.

"I knew my tour was over.

"I was going for broke then and just trying to get a wicket before I was gone.

"Obviously I'm heartbroken and distraught to be leaving the tour.

"I've been fortunate in my career because I've been fairly injury-free, but this is obviously a big blow."

England captain Andrew Strauss commented: "Stuart has been one of the mainstays of our bowling attack for a while, and he had all the ingredients to bowl well in Australia.

"We're devastated for him, but the show moves on and it gives a chance to the other three guys."