Injured Broad targeting Boxing Day return after Johnson leaves his mark

Stuart Broad is refusing to give up on his England’s Ashes campaign, despite a debilitating time at the WACA.

Australia's David Warner (right) gestures towards England's Matt Prior
Australia's David Warner (right) gestures towards England's Matt Prior

Broad had to leave the scene of England’s misery on day three of the third Test in Perth to have 
X-rays and scans on his right foot.

It had already been a bad day for England when they began yesterday’s play by losing their last six wickets for just 61 runs, bowled out for 251 – 135 behind the hosts’ first innings total.

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Opener David Warner then increased the tourists’ anguish when he raced to a second century of the series, hitting 112 after an opening stand of 154 with Chris Rogers (54).

Broad must wait until medical experts in England have assessed scans to decide his chances of playing in the last two Tests after he was effectively ruled out of playing any further significant part in the current match.

Should that transpire, far from initial hopes of winning a fourth successive Ashes series, the urn will already be gone at 3-0 down.

Broad hobbled into the close-of-play press conference yesterday on crutches, and wearing a conspicuous protective shoe, after being hit almost full on his right metatarsal by a ball from Mitchell Johnson which got him out lbw.

He insisted, nonetheless, having left England’s famous Ashes victory down under mid-series because of injury three years ago, that he hopes he can stay the course this time.

“Even if there’s a small crack there and my symptoms aren’t painful, I see no reason why I can’t continue to play,” Broad said.

“I’ve got 10 days until Boxing Day ... I see no reason why I can’t get myself back in the frame (for the Melbourne Test).

“I was desperate to get out there and bowl, so I had to try it out in the nets.

“Normally, with a bruise, you’ll get a bit of blood to it and get going – and the pain decreases.

“This actually increased quite a bit. I wanted to go out and have a spell, but the doc said I had to have an X-ray.

“Something showed up on the X-ray, but it was a bit inconclusive, so I had to have an MRI.”

Broad is still optimistic that he can return to play a crucial role in the remaining two Tests.

“I’m desperate to play a part in the rest of this Ashes. There’s a bit of a break between this Test and the next, and I’m desperate to be there,” he said.

During his century opening stand with Warner, Rogers began to sense England knew they were fighting a losing battle.

“The heat and being so far behind takes its toll, and you realise a victory is out of your grasp,” he said.

“From there, you get a bit defensive, and someone like Davey (Warner) is going to take advantage of that.”

Cracks in the WACA pitch, in line with the stumps, will make England’s task even more hazardous.

“If these cracks keep widening, it’s going to be very hard to bat on – and a little bit scary,” added Rogers.

“I think they know, particularly with our pace, that gets a bit worrying.”

Along with Australian superiority, the other recurring theme of the series has been apparent bad blood between the teams.

Again, eyebrows were raised and umpires engaged when the combative Warner appeared to swap insults with England players around the bat through his impressive innings, continuing a remarkable transformation for a player considered public enemy No 1 for England fans after his altercation with Yorkshire’s Joe Root in a Birmingham nightclub ahead of the summer Ashes series.

That saw him initially dropped from the Australian squad but, gradually, the left-handed opener has become indispensable at the top of the batting order, his naturally combative style combining neatly with Rogers’s more methodical, defensive approach – a partnership which flourished to its fullest yesterday in Perth.

Once he reached three figures, Warner clearly took great delight in celebrating in front of his opponents, initially running in the direction of wicketkeeper Matt Prior before kissing the badge on the front of his helmet.

Rogers said: “There’s a lot of intensity out there, and things are said.

“So be it.

“We’re all men, and we’re happy to deal with it when we’re out in the middle.

“Davey was quite fired-up.”