England v India, 5th Investec Test, The Oval August 13, 2014

England wait on Broad availability


Play 01:27
'Can't rest on our two wins' - Root

Stuart Broad did not train at The Oval on Wednesday but England said that was always the plan and insisted he remains on course to be available for the final Investec Test against India after suffering a fractured nose from a Varun Aaron bouncer at Old Trafford.

Broad retired hurt after the ball squeezed between his grille and helmet on the third day at Old Trafford. He was stitched up by the England doctor at the ground before heading to hospital where X-rays confirmed the fracture but a specialist advised that the damage was not serious enough to require surgery.

The initial moments after Broad was struck looked nasty, as blood dripped on to the Old Trafford pitch, but with the outcome not being as serious as it appeared it could be his team-mates have spotted a chance for some gentle ribbing, with sympathy in short supply.

"It's not very pretty," Joe Root said. "He's not got his 'boy band' looks you'd normally associate with Stuart. He's milking it definitely ... as you'll probably have seen on all the social network sites.

"But I'm sure he'll be desperate to play on Friday. He's obviously in good form and will want to finish the series strongly with the rest of us."

A picture posted by Broad on Twitter on Tuesday showed him sporting a pair of black eyes but the England camp have been confident that he would not be kept out of the final Test of the season and included him as part of an unchanged squad.

There have been suggestions, started by Broad, that he may need to wear a protective mask - the type seen in other sports after facial injuries - although that may not be the case now with some type of splint being another option considered.

Broad has been a key part of England's resurgence in the last two Tests, taking 6 for 25 at Old Trafford to follow an important role at the Ageas Bowl.

Root believes the secret to the change in fortunes was how the team stuck together in the wake of the Lord's defeat and when the threat of James Anderson being banned was hanging over the team, although to suggest England have been able to "throw a punch back" was perhaps slightly unfortunate.

"The good thing that came from that was that we didn't let it affect us," Root said. "That may be one way where we did get slightly more tight. It gave us another incentive to want to throw a punch back at them.

"I don't think we can really rest on the fact we've played well in the last couple of games. India are a very good side - we know that - and we're going to have to make sure we do everything we can to win this series comfortably."

Such was the turmoil England found themselves in just a few weeks ago that it was being suggested in some dispatches that the captaincy should he handed to Root. After two wins and a few runs for Alastair Cook that topic has been put away for the time being, but for Root it never even entered his thoughts.

"It didn't come anywhere near the front of my mind," he said. "We knew that Alastair is the man to take us forward. That's one area we've been very good, we've stayed very tight to what we believe in and I think that's why we've managed to turn it around. It's only a start but if we continue the way we have then we have a very good chance of improving as a Test side."

If Broad does take his place in the line-up on Friday, the only decision for the selectors is whether to stick with Chris Woakes and Chris Jordan as the support seamers. The pair have only taken four wickets between them so there could be a temptation to recall Steven Finn for his first Test since facing Australia, at Trent Bridge, last July.

Two days out, the Test strip had a tinge of green but The Oval does not have the reputation of leaving much grass on its Test wickets. England would like it to carry as the Old Trafford strip did, but recent Test surfaces here have not been fliers.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • John on August 15, 2014, 3:41 GMT

    My concern would be his breathing. If he can't breathe through his nose because of the swelling caused by such an injury, he'll be struggling to get enough oxygen to bowl fast.

    However, if his breathing is OK, the positive news is that he hasn't had to bowl since the first day of the last test, 8 days ago. His knee has had a nice long rest.

  • Android on August 14, 2014, 21:02 GMT

    Come on.. the man isn't fit. A fractured nose radiates pain... he has a on going dodgey knee. Give him a rest and don't be desperate to play him. Play Finn, and as much as I hate to say it, play Stokes instead of Jordan as he's looked more threatening - despite being dreadful with the bat. The days of Stokes batting at 6 are a farcry away. It makes more sense to play him as a bowler who bats a bit much like Broad.

  • Friend on August 14, 2014, 17:27 GMT

    Yeah it is unfortunate that Broad got that injury. Even though Broad is in the opposition, we Indian fans sympathize with everyone getting injured. Not much was written about the sportsmanship shown by Indian players after Broad suffered that injury. They immediately rushed to him and wanted to make sure he was fine. I also want Broad to get well and play the last test. That way England wont have any excuses.

  • Channan on August 14, 2014, 14:07 GMT

    Anderson and Ali are sufficient for India.

  • Tom on August 14, 2014, 9:48 GMT

    Posted by wolf777 on (August 13, 2014, 20:36 GMT) Doesn't look like bicycle helmet offers much protection...

    I don't know about that. The damage would have been far worse if the ball hadn't been slowed down as it forced its way through the gap.

  • Tom on August 14, 2014, 9:45 GMT

    Selectors are in a tricky position. If Broad is fit then of course he should play. But by appearing to want to play him at all course they are sending a message to the potential replacements 'we don't really trust you'.

  • John on August 14, 2014, 0:14 GMT

    I guess a possible issue is that, if Broad is fit, he'll be selected without having trained much at all since the last Test. Hopefully that won't leave him rusty. Hopefully the rest would leave him refreshed and rearing to go.

  • Colin on August 13, 2014, 23:12 GMT

    The bloke needs knee surgery and will inevitably be hampered when batting, bowling and fielding by this mask! Let him have the surgery now! That isn't complacency but common sense! Let Finn have a blast; he is fit, raring to go and has a lot to prove. The Oval pitch is a bit of a road but usually has some pace and carry so why not see how he has progressed?

  • Dummy4 on August 13, 2014, 21:59 GMT

    Take care Broad and protect yourself from Indian pacer's bouncers.

  • S on August 13, 2014, 20:50 GMT

    If Broad doesn't play, England should go with Anderson, Finn, Stokes and Woakes. Plus Moeen as the spinner.

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