Party mood for all bar one as Finn closes in on Broad's place

It was a peculiar way to mark one of England's greatest Test victories. Reflections on the extraordinary defeat of India were overshadowed yesterday because vice-captain Stuart Broad faces being dropped for the third Test, which starts in Kolkata next Wednesday after poor displays in the first two matches of the series. His likely replacement is Steve Finn, right, the fastest bowler in the squad and possibly the world, who had a glorified fitness test yesterday and emerged unscathed, taking 4 for 50 in 16 overs.

What should have been a day for the warm glow of an epic achievement after England won by 10 wickets to level the series at 1-1, became a cold-hearted inquiry into Broad. He had a match to forget, taking no wickets, and scoring six runs. That can happen in cricket but he is obviously well short of his best after also having an unrewarding first Test and it was inevitable that David Saker, the England fast-bowling coach, would be asked about it.

"He's finding it tough, and I don't think he's the first fast bowler to come here and find it tough," Saker said. "It's a great learning curve for him. Bowling fast here isn't easy and you have to find a way to survive. At the moment it's probably not going the way he'd like it to go."

The selectors rightly believe that Finn's pace could make a difference on slow Indian pitches and now that the side is settled at two fast men and two spinners it leaves little room for manoeuvre.

Finn would be more effective than Broad and England can hardly expect spinners Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar to take the 19 wickets they managed in the second Test every time. Finn's appearance for the Performance Programme XI against an Academy XI yesterday went some way to dispelling concerns about his fitness. He is now viewed as the present not the future of England's attack.

"If he gets through with the Performance Programme there's a good chance he might play in Kolkata, " said Saker. "He has the pace we probably need for this place. We'd like to get him in the team."

Having finished the Test a day early, England will take a break in Mumbai and leave for Kolkata on Friday. There is all to play for now.