England in South Africa 2015-16 January 17, 2016

Broad No. 1 in Tests, Finn doubtful for Centurion

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England fast bowler Steven Finn looks certain to miss the final Test against South Africa in Centurion after sustaining a side strain on the final day of the third Test in Johannesburg.

Finn, rated by coach Trevor Bayliss as England's "best bowler" in the first couple of Tests, underwent a scan on his left side on Sunday morning. While the results were not yet known, Bayliss feared Finn will miss the Test and quite possibly the limited-overs section of the tour.

"I doubt very much whether he will be available for the next Test," Bayliss said. "We will have to wait and see how bad it is and make a decision on the one-day and T20 games. At this stage, it looks like we will have to make a replacement heading into the last Test. It's unfortunate, because I thought he bowled with good pace and bounce and was probably our most dangerous bowler in the first two Tests."

There was a more encouraging development for the team with the news that Stuart Broad had become the first England bowler to top the ICC Test bowling rankings since Steve Harmison in 2004. Broad started the third Test in third place, after his man-of-the-match performance in Johannesburg, has gone above R Ashwin and Dale Steyn.

Before Harmison, Ian Botham was the last England bowler to top the bowling rankings. He reached No. 1 in 1980.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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  • dunger.bob on January 19, 2016, 7:21 GMT

    Broad is a real weapon lately. These ratings reflect who's currently in form and there's no doubt he's in great form. I'm still reeling from that 8 for 'something ridiculous' he took us for last ashes. .. Well deserved to a very good bowler.

  • Happy_hamster on January 18, 2016, 20:43 GMT

    DIMEBAG_JIMMY ON JANUARY 18, 2016, 12:34 GMT I do not really get your point, Broad is currently rated at N0.1, not on the all time chart, other than Steyn everyone you mention is long retired; it is like claiming being the current world heavyweight champion is by default better than Ali, is it because Broad is English and that has irked you, do one.

  • RavisPohan on January 18, 2016, 19:56 GMT

    @Dimebag_Jimmy. I agree that there seems to be a tendency from England fans to overrate Anderson. Broad, however, has been underrated if anything throughout most of his career. His average over the last few years has been more around the 25 mark. Has he been anywhere near as good as Steyn all that time? No. That's why Steyn was no. 1 the whole time and Broad wasn't. Steyn is quite possibly the only great bowler currently available for selection. That isn't what no. 1 measures, though. It's about who is bowling best *right now*. Broad's spell in this test wasn't his only one like that. He had a similarly freakish spell against Australia in the last Ashes, as well as doing well beforehand in the otherwise disastrous Ashes series downunder, along with spells in the home Ashes series before that, winning England games from nowhere. I don't recall Steyn or any of the other highly successful fast bowlers like Southee, Boult or Johnson having quite the same impact in the last while

  • MrCompletely on January 18, 2016, 18:26 GMT

    Plunkett should replace Finn - obvious to everyone except the selectors.

    But then Chris is a nice lad, might score 20 at number 9 and, well, its his turn..

  • scritty on January 18, 2016, 18:17 GMT

    Broad and Anderson both carry the baggage of very mediocre career starts. Anderson in and out of the side for 5 years from 2003-2008. In the last 4 years these guys have both got averages in that time period below 25. Good bowlers, but those poor career starts will be used as ammunition in the "war of stats" against them every time. Some bowlers just bowled better - earlier in their careers. Right now, and for the past 3 years they are an excellent pairing. And really, that's all this award means. It's not a deep historical viewpoint. It's "Who is doing best now and in the immediate past" And it's correct in that regard.

  • mahlabelam on January 18, 2016, 17:00 GMT

    @Dimebag Jimmy...Thank you. Broad is bowling well...has had magical spells but he aint great. I hear people saying he bowled well in UAE but stats dont show it.. well most people may say Morkel had bowled well many times without 8numbers to back but its about consistency. I 7mean the spell Steyn bowled to Tendulkar a 8few years ago is proof that a bowler can bowl well and still have nothing to show for it. So many plays and misses (a few nicks not given out my opinion) the lil master went on to make 100. We cant use excuses that numbers didnt show for a certain performance, it happens to every1...part of cricket and sport.

  • diri on January 18, 2016, 15:35 GMT

    Lol Broad is getting to much hype...he is not great and will never be. To be considered a great fast bowler you need an average in the low 20`s. Broads average is close to 30!!! Good bowler not great bowler. End of storey.

  • Crunchman on January 18, 2016, 15:28 GMT

    DIMEBAG_JIMMY - Broad's Career Average is not all that helpful. He was very raw when he first played and is now a much improved bowler. If you look at his average since the start of the 2011 English home season (almost 5 years) he is averaging 25.67 which is probably a truer reflection over a decent period of time. His, and Anderson's, figures have not been helped by the "Chief Executive's Pitches" that English groundsmen have prepared in recent times. If you want to use Steyn as a reference point his bowling average in England is 31.65.

  • dimebag_jimmy on January 18, 2016, 12:34 GMT

    I see this same comment from England fans and media every time one of their bowlers has a good series or match, oh so and so is the best bowler in the world etc. This is an extremely short sighted opinion and slightly insulting to the greats. Mr's Broad and Anderson both average close to 30 runs per wicket with average strike rates, both fair weather bowlers of the highest order. Steyn is one of the greats no doubt about it, the guy has done it on every track around the world. The genuine great fast bowlers of the last few decades, Marshall, Donald, Pollock, Curtly, Steyn, Waqar, Wasim, McGrath etc had the stats to back it up with averages in the low 20s.........you can not claim greatness going at 30 runs per wicket, sorry.

  • Paddy1984 on January 18, 2016, 10:00 GMT

    I'm not usually one for "what ifs?" but I have to wonder what kind of stats he would have if he hadn't been burdened with the "enforcer" tag. Similar story with re-modelling Jimmy's action. Killed them both as effective bowlers for a couple of years each at least. I could definitely see them both with an extra 50 wickets apiece, probably more.

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