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Root expected to bat despite injured finger

"Hopefully tomorrow he'll turn up at the ground and be OK to hold a bat," says James Anderson

Joe Root during a nets session at Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad, November 2, 2023

Joe Root spent an extended period off the field with a finger injury  •  Getty Images

Joe Root should be fit to bat in England's fourth-innings chase of 399 in the second Test against India after spending most of day three off the field nursing a damaged finger.
Root sustained a blow on his right little finger in the eighth over of the day, after an edge from Shreyas Iyer off the bowling of James Anderson bounced short of him. Root was immediately in pain and spent large periods of time off the field in the morning session. He did not emerge from the dressing room for the rest of India's second innings.
It meant, after bowling two overs to start the day's play, England were short a bowling option. Nevertheless, they rallied to dismiss India for 255, with the inexperienced spin trio of Tom Hartley, Rehan Ahmed and Shoaib Bashir combining for eight wickets to limit England's target to 399 to win in Visakhapatnam for an unlikely 2-0 lead in the series. They will resume their innings on day four on 67 for 1 after Ben Duckett fell to Ravichandran Ashwin.
Anderson, who took 2 for 29, said Root's absence from the field was precautionary. England's medical team spent the day treating and icing Root's finger. At the time of writing, they did not see a reason to send him for a scan.
"His finger is not great," said Anderson. "He took a blow in training this morning and again on the field. It's just making sure that is as good as it can be for when he bats. Hopefully tomorrow he'll turn up at the ground and be OK to hold a bat.
"He was just making sure he could do everything he could to help us out in the second innings, just making sure it's as good as possible for tomorrow. There's a chance we will need him with the bat so it's making sure he can hold a bat.
"I don't think there's concerns. It's making sure he's as good as he can be. There's no point risking it for an external blow, no point risking it further out in the middle, so it's making sure he's good enough to bat."
Given the injury is external, Root will be able to bat in his usual position at four - or five, as it is now, after Rehan was promoted up the order to bat three. At the close, Rehan was unbeaten on 9 and Zak Crawley was not out 29.

Vithushan Ehantharajah is an associate editor at ESPNcricinfo