Party mood for all bar one as Steve Finn closes on Stuart Broad spot

England's out-of-form vice-captain is set to be dropped as pace rival proves return to fitness

Mumbai

It was a peculiar way to mark one of England's greatest Test victories. Reflections on the extraordinary defeat of India were overshadowed yesterday by ruminations on the immediate future of the team's 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 will be Steve Finn, the fastest bowler in the squad and possibly the world, who had a glorified but deadly earnest fitness test yesterday and appeared to emerge unscathed after taking 4 for 50 in 16 overs delivered in four separate spells.

What should have been a day for dwelling in the warm glow of an epic achievement became a cold-hearted inquiry into Broad's form and fitness. Perhaps it is the nature of modern sport that the next game is always the one that matters, but it seemed slightly hasty barely 24 hours on from the stunning deeds at Wankhede Stadium, where England won by 10 wickets to tie the series at 1-1.

Broad had a match to forget, taking no wickets, scoring six runs and hardly featuring in the field. 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 given his speciality.

"He's finding it tough, no doubt, and I don't think he's the first fast bowler to come here and find it tough," Saker said. "It's another great learning curve for him. Bowling fast over here isn't easy and you have to find a way to survive. The really great bowlers always have. He's learning it the hard way at the moment and it's probably not going the way he'd like it to go."

The additional conundrum for the tourists' selectors is Finn. They rightly believe that his sheer pace could make a difference on slow Indian pitches and now that the composition of the bowling attack has been settled at two fast men and two spinners it leaves little room for manoeuvre.

Put bluntly, Finn would be more effective than Broad at present and England can hardly expect their spinners, Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar, to take the 19 wickets they managed in the second Test every time they go out to bowl. Finn's appearance for the England Performance Programme XI against an Academy XI yesterday went some way to dispelling continuing concerns about his fitness.

It has taken him longer than expected to recover from the thigh strain he suffered while fielding in the second warm-up match of this tour but that has not lessened England's desire to find room for him in the Test side. Finn is now viewed as the present and 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, without a doubt," said Saker. "He's a special talent and has the pace we probably need for this place. We'd like to get him in the team. With his height he might get some variable bounce on these wickets. We don't know what the wicket is going to be like in Kolkata but with his pace and the bounce over here he can bring the stumps into play often."

Saker revealed that doubts were intruding after the defeat in the first Test at Ahmedabad, England's seventh of the year. It looked like becoming eight in Mumbai, especially when the toss was lost on the first morning, but they achieved a remarkable turnaround.

"I can only talk from where I was coming from but I was questioning myself as to whether we were doing the right things," said Saker. "If I'm doing that, I think probably others in the camp were wondering if we were going in the right direction.

"The positive out of the first Test was the way we batted in that second innings. The batsmen got a lot of confidence out of that which they took into this game. Still, I wasn't sure what we'd get out of them and it turned out to be as good a win as I've ever experienced with this group."

Having finished the Test a day early, England will take the chance for a mid-series break in Mumbai. They leave for Kolkata on Friday, when serious practice begins again. There is all to play for now.

Sport
sportSo, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Arts and Entertainment
Dennis speaks to his French teacher
tvThe Boy in the Dress, TV review
News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
The Plaza Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia was one of the 300 US cinemas screening
filmTim Walker settles down to watch the controversial gross-out satire
Sport
Alexis Sanchez missed a penalty before scoring the opening goal with a header at the back post
footballArsenal vs QPR match report
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
news
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz in Tim Burton's Big Eyes
film reviewThis is Tim Burton’s most intimate and subtle film for a decade
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
Arts and Entertainment
Madonna is not in Twitter's good books after describing her album leak as 'artistic rape and terrorism'
music14 more 'Rebel Heart' tracks leaked including Pharrell Williams collaboration
News
i100
Sport
Rooney celebrates with striker-partner Radamel Falcao after the pair combine to put United ahead
footballManchester United vs Newcastle match report
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all