Jonny Bairstow is hoping he will be fit to bat for England as they try to defy history against India at Trent Bridge.
Wicketkeeper Bairstow suffered a “small fracture” to his left middle finger when he failed to gather a ball from James Anderson cleanly on day three of the third Specsavers Test.
He was replaced behind the stumps by Jos Buttler while Virat Kohli (103), Cheteshwar Pujara (72) and Hardik Pandya (52no) were piling up 352 for seven declared to leave England facing a world record run chase of 521.
Alternatively, they need to bat out six sessions to stay 2-0 up with two to play – a highly unlikely task, but a little more realistic perhaps in the knowledge Bairstow should be in the middle order.
After the hosts reached stumps on 23 for none, Bairstow told Channel 5: “We are going to see how it is in the morning.
“It is a fracture, but it’s not displaced – and that is a big thing. We hope that, with a bit more ice overnight and some protection, (it will help).”
The treatment so far has been painful.
“It just goes numb after the ice bath – the first 30 seconds were pretty horrendous,” added Bairstow, who is keeping the faith England can fare much better in their second innings than they did when losing all 10 wickets in one session first time round.
“(India) left the ball well, and we know if we are going to save or win this game that’s exactly what we have to do.
“We know the challenge in front of us, and we know what we have to do to save or win this game.”
England assistant coach Paul Farbrace is calling on England’s senior players – including captain Joe Root and his predecessor Alastair Cook – to rise to the challenge.
“Having had such a poor performance yesterday, you would expect your batsmen to show some gumption and some guts and get stuck in tomorrow and show that they are the best players,” he said.
“You’re looking for Cook, Root, (Ben) Stokes to get stuck in and show they are top quality players.
“The key for us is showing the right intent – and from yesterday’s innings, that would be the biggest disappointment. We lost two wickets in two balls, and the intent went out of our innings.
“We can defend (the players), and we can say we’ve got lots of good players, and players at different stages of their careers – but the key is showing you can do it in the middle.”
Cook and Keaton Jennings have made a start at least.
“They played well tonight, but it’s about continuing that – everyone going in and playing their way and playing with good intent,” added Farbrace.
“Intent doesn’t just mean scoring quickly – it means defending well, leaving well, rotating strike.”
England have not helped themselves here either by dropping six catches.
Farbrace said: “When bowlers are creating opportunities and catches are being dropped, that can be soul destroying.
“Nobody means to drop a catch, but we are shelling too many. There’s no hiding place. It’s not good enough – we’ve been saying that for too long.”
Pujara did fall to a slip catch, by Cook off Stokes.
After returning to form here, he said: “I was always confident. Although I didn’t score many runs in county cricket [for Yorkshire] I was playing on challenging pitches.
“I’m really pleased to score those valuable runs for the team.”
England will need to bat for more than two days to save the third Test after India declared with a lead of 520 at Trent Bridge.
India captain Virat Kohli completed his second century of the series before deciding to call a halt to his side’s second innings at 352 for seven late on the third day.
That left England with up to nine overs to face before the close on Monday and with two further days to bat out to prevent India reducing the arrears in the five-match series to 2-1.
England’s travails were compounded by the loss of wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow with a broken finger. Bairstow suffered a painful blow to the hand in the morning session and X-rays later confirmed he had suffered a small fracture to his left middle finger.
Kohli, who scored 97 in the first innings, resumed on eight and batted until shortly after tea for his 103.
He put on 113 for the third wicket with Cheteshwar Pujara, who hit 72, and 57 for the sixth with Ajinkya Rahane (29).
He was eventually trapped lbw by Chris Woakes but Hardik Pandya hit a run-a-ball unbeaten 52 to take India’s lead past 500.
Adil Rashid took the last two wickets to fall before the declaration to end with figures of three for 101.
They repeated a costly habit when they lost all 10 wickets in a session on day two against India at Trent Bridge as they were bowled out for 161.
Despite an opening stand of 54, England conceded a lead of 168 as Hardik Pandya recorded only the second five-wicket haul of his first-class career.
After India then closed on 124 for two, Joe Root’s hosts are on course for a defeat which would bring their opponents right back into the series at 2-1 down with two to play.
England teams through the generations went almost 80 years without losing all their wickets in one session between 1938 and October 2016 – but they have now done so three times in 22 months.
Buttler said: “It’s very disappointing – after a really good start to the day as well, picking up those early wickets and being 50 for none.
“We let that slip. It’s important we can recognise why it’s happened, and improve.”
Despite some “very honest conversations” in the dressing-room, Buttler points out there is no “magic answer” to the problem.
Asked if England have yet worked out why they are so prone to collapse, he said: “Obviously not, if it keeps happening. Rightly, people say it’s been happening too often – which it has.
“Guys have got to improve. We know that as a side to get to where we want to go, we need to eradicate these collapses.”
That appears to be slightly easier said than done at present.
“The key is trying not to make the same mistakes,” Buttler said.
“You can’t keep doing the same thing over and over again, whether that’s as an individual or as a team.
“There’s no real substitute for hard work.
“It comes down to how can you wrestle back the initiative – maybe with a counter-attacking style or someone trying to sit in and be a bit of a limpet for an hour and ride that session out.
“But obviously we weren’t good enough to do that today.”
England find themselves in a hole, but Buttler added: “No one’s going to give up, or throw the towel in.
“We’ve had a poor day today, very disappointing, but we’ll dust ourselves down and come back hard tomorrow.
“Everyone is striving to be the best they can – it’s not for a lack of trying. “We’ve had a very bad day, but we will come back hard.”
Pandya has had his own critics in the early stages of his Test career.
He let the ball do the talking, however, and said of his detractors: “I don’t play for them. I don’t even want to know or care what they say.
“I play for my country … that’s my job, and I am doing the right thing.
“My team is happy with me. Nothing else matters.”