Broad included in unchanged England squad
England have named an unchanged squad for the fifth Test at The Oval, starting on Friday, with Stuart Broad included despite suffering a fractured nose when batting at Old Trafford on Saturday. Broad tweeted a picture of his injury, which required stitches and a trip to hospital, on Sunday morning and suggested he could play while wearing a protective mask.
Liam Plunkett was not deemed fit enough to return to the 13-man squad, meaning that Steven Finn keeps his place and could make a return to the Test side if Broad isn't risked. Plunkett, who played the first four Tests of the summer, was rested for England's win at the Ageas Bowl and was then ruled out with an ankle injury.
Broad was struck by a Varun Aaron bouncer that squeezed between the grille and peak of his helmet. He retired hurt, and bloodied, taking no part in India's second innings as the tourists were dismissed in 43 overs to give England an innings victory and a 2-1 lead in the series.
Speaking after the close, England captain Alastair Cook was hopeful that Broad would recover in time for the Oval Test. Broad is expected to have knee surgery at the end of the series, due to tendonitis, but Peter Moores, England's head coach, said Broad would play as long as the medical staff passed him fit, rather than take the opportunity to end his season early. Providing Broad did not suffer concussion, which has recently become a high-profile issue in several contact sports, he could be free to play with the added protection of a plastic face mask, such as those worn by a number of footballers.
"We'll see what the specialist says but my thought is that, if he's fit and there's no risk to him, we will play him," Moores said. "It is a big game at The Oval and we want to play him. He may end up playing in one of those football face masks."
England were not restricted by Broad's absence, despite James Anderson also suffering from illness, as Moeen Ali picked up four more wickets to take his series tally to 19. But although Chris Woakes started the collapse by removing M Vijay and Chris Jordan took two in two balls to finish the innings, England's back-up seamers only managed one other wicket between them over the two Test victories in Southampton and Manchester.
Woakes has two wickets at 129.50 from his three Tests - though he has bowled better than those numbers suggest against India - and Jordan has looked out of rhythm since coming back into the side. Ben Stokes, who played at Trent Bridge and Lord's but was dropped after making three successive ducks, remains an option, though he has only played 50-over cricket since then; Finn is continuing his rehabilitation after drastically losing his way on the Ashes tour but was expensive in a one-day appearance for the Lions on Friday.
Plunkett will not be considered as he continues to manage an ankle problem. He bowled with Yorkshire on Saturday but there was still some swelling and the county will examine his progress in Scarborough, where they play two Royal London Cup fixtures next week.
"Liam is pain-free and about to start bowling at 50%, but it is quite a tight time frame in terms of his availability for The Oval," Moores said.
The Oval will also provide an opportunity for Sam Robson to ensure he stays in the selectors' thoughts, with an almost eight-month gap until England play another Test. Robson is virtually a first-class specialist and will not be involved in England's plans for the World Cup but, after scoring a century and half-century in his first three Tests, his progress has stalled. England have stuck with him, however, rather than look at a number of potential options at opener, such as Michael Carberry, Nick Compton or Adam Lyth.
"Sam had an area where they have attacked him around off stump and he has got out a few times," Moores said. "Now he has been challenged, the key is how he responds. He can draw on the fact that he made a fantastic hundred at Headingley and he got a bit of a template of how he can play. That tells him he can play."
England squad: Alastair Cook (capt), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Gary Ballance, Ian Bell, Stuart Broad, Jos Buttler, Steven Finn, Chris Jordan, Sam Robson, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes