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Oval Test: Joe Root optimistic pacer Stuart Broad will play

England's Joe Root is optimistic injured pace bowler will be able to play the fifth Test tomorrow

London: Stuart Broad was one of two notable absentees from practice at the Oval before the fifth Test between England and India.

Stuart Broad and Joe Root
Stuart Broad and Joe Root 

It was thought Broad, perhaps wearing a protective mask of some description on the nose which was broken by a Varun Aaron bouncer in England's win at Old Trafford last week, would be present and correct at nets.

Broad was at the ground but took no part in training. It was reported after the victory in Manchester, where the fast bowler was man of the match, that — despite stitches in his nose — he was expecting to be fit for purpose at the Oval.

Teammate Joe Root is certainly still optimistic Broad will be able to partner James Anderson with the new ball as usual. Whether he does so with a protective face covering, merely needs that to bat or not at all, remains a matter of conjecture which will depend on ongoing advice from specialists.

Either way, with two black eyes and an 'x-marks-the-spot' wound, England's blond bombshell is not looking quite his best.

England players warm-up at the Oval yesterday. Pic/Getty Images
England players warm-up at the Oval yesterday. Pic/Getty Images 

"It's not very pretty," said Root. "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 be wanting to finish the series strongly with the rest of us."

Broad's bowling helped England to an emphatic victory as they established a series lead, by which time he was watching from a hospital bed.

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