Jofra Archer has been ruled out of the second Test against India in Chennai, with Joe Root telling his England players to follow the example set by himself and Jimmy Anderson as they look to go 2-0 up in the series.
Archer impressed with three wickets and hostile speeds during the 227-run victory in the first Test but, along with illness on the final day, the fast bowler has since received an injection to a “niggle” in his right elbow after the Guardian learned that he had missed nets on Thursday.
An England spokesperson has since said it is not related to the elbow stress fracture suffered during the tour of South Africa last winter, while, prior to the news, Root confirmed that Stuart Broad will definitely return to the XI.
It remains to be seen whether Anderson is still rested and another seamer replaces Archer – Olly Stone and Chris Woakes are possible alternatives – or Root sticks with England’s 38-year-old record wicket-taker after a masterful spell of reverse swing settled matters on Tuesday.
Asked about England’s current streak of six away wins, most recently powered by his superb 218 last week, Root replied: “There is no reason why it can’t continue, in my eyes. We are going to have to keep playing extremely well and keep looking to push the boundaries of what people might consider are our capabilities as a team.
“The whole point is that we keep gathering this momentum, keep looking to get better, keep challenging ourselves. When you get your opportunity, when you get to 60, 70, 80 not out, go and get two hundred. When you have the ball in hand, you have three or four overs to make a real impact; go and change the game just like Jimmy Anderson did in that spell on the last day.”
On Broad, who played one Test in Sri Lanka before making way for Anderson, Root said: “It’s great he is fit, firing and ready to go ahead of the last three games. It will be exciting to see him back out there. Stuart will play and we expect him to do exactly what he has done in the recent past in the England shirt.”
England’s much-debated rotation policy means Surrey’s Ben Foakes returns to keep wicket after a two-year absence, with Jos Buttler having flown home to rest before returning for the five-match Twenty20 series that follows.
Asked if he felt daunted by the challenge, Foakes replied: “No. You want to come in when the side is going well and have that momentum. It’s been so impressive to watch the guys over the last three Tests, how well they’ve played. It’s probably a good thing to come into a side like that which is riding high.”
Root’s men will have to contend with a home crowd for the first time in a year – the Chepauk Stadium could now be half-full after local authorities gave their approval – as well as a fresh pitch and an Indian side looking for swift revenge under their fired-up captain, Virat Kohli.
“I expect Virat to want to come out and for India to respond straight away from ball one of the Test match, whatever it is that the toss dictates,” Root said. “He is a proud guy with an unbelievable record in his own conditions as captain and a batter. He will want to come to the fore in this series sooner rather than later.”
On the return of spectators, Root added: “Our guys will be excited about having crowds back. When you come to India they are very passionate about the sport and to get that interaction with fans is going to be brilliant.
“If anything it will add to the occasion and I’m sure the guys will have some atmosphere to fall back on and work with in the stadium. I’m really looking forward to that side of things. It does not change anything and actually it will be really beneficial for us as a team to have that side of international cricket back again.”