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Wearing a splint on his broken nose, Stuart Broad practises with England ahead of 5th test

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LONDON - England fast bowler Stuart Broad should be fit to start with a broken nose against India in the fifth test at the Oval, captain Alastair Cook said on Thursday.

Broad was injured last Saturday when a bouncer from Varun Aaron got under the peak of his helmet, forcing him to retire hurt at Manchester. He had to be led from the field with blood streaming from his nose, and was hospitalized.

He missed training on Wednesday, but returned on Thursday when he was able to bowl at full pace and bat - albeit only against spin bowling and wearing a different helmet.

"If you know your helmet can do that (leave you open to injury) you want to change it, so he has," Cook explained at a news conference on the eve of the test start on Friday. "Like anything, the confidence you have in your equipment is important.

"We think he is going to be absolutely fine. We'll reserve the right tomorrow morning in case something unusual happens overnight but we are not expecting anything like that at all. He batted, he bowled his six or seven overs, and didn't get any pain from it."

Broad trained with a splint covering his nose. He previously tweeted that he might wear a mask during the Oval test.

"I honestly don't know (whether he will wear a mask or splint)," Cook said. "I'm not quite sure if he is going to wear it for his batting or if he is bowling, but I honestly don't think it is going to affect his performance at all."

Despite his absence from the second innings, Broad was awarded man-of-the-match honours in the fourth test for bowling figures of 6-25 in India's first innings. Cook admitted Broad's presence was crucial as England, who leads the five-match contest 2-1, looks to seal series victory.

"Him and Jimmy (Anderson) have taken over 500 wickets together, any captain would want those two together in the team," Cook said. "He likes performing in big games, and this is a big game for us."

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