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England wait on Broad availability

Andrew McGlashan
August 13, 2014 « Shaw out for month with hamstring injury | Farah claims 10,000m gold in Zurich »
Stuart Broad has seen a specialist after suffering a fractured nose at Old Trafford © @StuartBroad8
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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 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.

Stuart Broad is hit in the face from Varun Aaron's delivery © PA Photos
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"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

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