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December 12, 2012
Steven Finn has emerged as a major injury doubt ahead of the fourth Test in Nagpur after suffering a back injury. Finn, who missed the first two Tests with a thigh strain, reported some soreness on the final day of the Kolkata Test. A scan has shown a minor disc injury in his lower back and he was unable to take any part in training on Wednesday.
While the England team management are not ruling Finn out of the Test, his inclusion would appear to involve them taking an uncharacteristic risk. They are expected to pick just two seamers for the game, so will be loathe to go into it with any injury doubts over one of them.
Stuart Broad has been ruled out of the Test after a scan on his left heel showed bruising. He will remain with the squad for now with a decision taken over his availability for the Twenty20 games over the next few days.
Tim Bresnan is the likely replacement for Finn. Bresnan was dropped after a disappointing performance in the first Test in Ahmedabad but, with his ability to bat and his experience, is likely to be preferred to Graham Onions, who has struggled for rhythm in his few opportunities on the tour.
The England Performance Programme (EPP) squad is currently in Pune, but there are no plans to call-up a substitute for Broad or Finn. Stuart Meaker, who was called up as cover for Finn and Broad earlier in the tour, joined the EPP squad ahead of the Kolkata Test and is not with the Test squad.
The news completes a miserable Test tour for Broad. Named vice-captain at the start, he failed to take a wicket in either of the first two Tests, was dropped for the first time since 2008 ahead of Kolkata and has struggled with injuries and illness throughout.
"Stuart Broad is out of this Test match," England's captain, Alastair Cook, said. "His scan has showed a bruised heel and we'll assess him over the next day or so to see what happens with the Twenty20. We'll know a bit more when it settles down.
"It's the nature of sport, isn't it? Some people have good tours and some people don't. Unfortunately, more down to niggles and illnesses, Broady hasn't quite managed to get into the tour. It's frustrating for him and disappointing for us as a side. But we all know the class of Broady, and he'll be back."
England are currently leading the four match series 2-1 and looking to complete their first series win in India since 1984-85.
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: George Dobell
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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