Stuart Broad bowled almost 30 overs with a strained tendon in his right foot in the second Test against India – and is hoping his efforts may yet help salvage a stalemate.
England’s hopes of batting out a minimum 150 overs took a significant dent when their captain Alastair Cook was lbw to the last ball of day four in Vizag, lbw to Ravindra Jadeja after the longest half-century of his career.
Broad may have to miss the next Test in Mohali, while his foot recovers – but before then, despite the loss of Cook, he was still hoping that England could sustain the fightback that began on Friday after they had stumbled to a first-innings 80-5 in reply to 455.
They still ended up with a deficit of 200 and despite Broad’s figures of 4-33, by far his best in India to help bowl the hosts out for 204 second time round, the hosts remain strong favourites to go 1-0 up.
Cook (54) and Haseeb Hameed defied India in an opening stand of 75, but both were gone in an end-of-play total of 87-2, with a national-record target of 405 to win all but out of the equation.
But Broad claims England have enduring belief they can claim a draw and head north for the third Test still all square.
“We’ve given ourselves a great chance,” he said.
“If we can keep it quiet for the first hour-and-a-half (on the final day), the pressure will only grow on the Indian bowlers.
“Everyone believes it can be done.
“When you watch the way we’ve batted (on Sunday evening) – 60 overs for two wickets – we’ve only got another 90 to go.”
England have come a long way since it seemed, three days ago, they were on the fast track to defeat.
“We obviously had a bad hour-and-a-half at the end of day two,” added Broad. “But since then, we’ve shown a lot of character. That’s all Cooky’s asked for really.
“For us to still be in this Test match coming into day five, from the position we were in at the end of day two, is a huge credit to us.
“Even (on day four), turning up to the ground 300 behind, it’s very easy to throw the towel in – but we put a lot of pressure on the Indians, taking early wickets and not letting them control the scoring rate and declare.”
Broad and Yorkshire’s Adil Rashid shared eight wickets, and India lost their last seven in the morning session – including captain Virat Kohli for 81.
England’s hopes then gradually rose, until Cook succumbed.
“It’s always disappointing when you lose a wicket in the final over – especially someone as dogged and strong as Cooky,” said Broad.
“But the calmness and courage he shows, I think he’s set that lead we have to follow.
“If we get two or three batsmen get stuck in like the two openers did (on Sunday), we will save this Test match.
“We know the Indian team will come back refreshed, excited, with men round the bat – but it’s all about calming it down.
“The amount of time they’ll have to bowl us out, they’ll be expected to win the game and under pressure to do it.”
As for his injury, Broad is already anticipating several days limping around conspicuously before the improvement comes – in time at least, he hopes, for next month’s fourth Test in Mumbai.
“I think there are plans to get a ‘moon-boot’ on once this Test match has finished, to try to offload the tendon for a little bit for a few days.
“We’ve got 17 days, I think, till Mumbai ... slightly less for Mohali.
“I’ll obviously try to get fit for the next one but, I hope, definitely be fit for Mumbai.”
In the more immediate future, India batsman Cheteshwar Pujara was already sensing a 1-0 lead as he assessed England’s chances of eking out the final day with eight remaining wickets
“We’re happy with the way things went,” he said.
“We got two wickets ... ultimately we achieved what we wanted.
“Day five, I don’t think it will be easy to bat on. As we saw, cracks are opening up.”