England have announced their XI for tomorrow’s crucial fourth test against India. The game, which takes place at Hampshire’s Ageas Bowl, is England’s chance to bounce back from a crushing defeat at Lords. Sam Curran and Moeen Ali return to the team in favour of Chris Woakes and Olly Pope.
Chris Woakes is nursing a thigh problem, the same one that kept him out of the first half of the summer. Young Olly Pope also misses out, however, he won’t be released back to his county until tomorrow in case of injury. Jonny Bairstow will play as a specialist Batsman meaning that recent Centurion Jos Buttler will keep wicket. James Vince has been released and is playing for Hampshire this afternoon in the County Championship.
India have yet to announce their team, but we know Virat Kohli likes a change. Bhuvneshwar Kumar will probably miss out due to injury and there will be a late test on Ravi Ashwin. There have been late additions to the touring party in the form of Prithvi Shaw and Hanuma Vihari. The pair have replaced Murali Vijay and Kuldeep Yadav respectively.
Our View: The call to drop Pope may seem harsh, just as it did to drop Curran (Sam not Tom as I kept calling him after a few Edgbaston pints) at Lords Ali has been in frightening form. The all-rounder is fresh of a double century batting at three and a wonderful bowling display at Scarborough in the last round county matches. The batting order is very much up in the air, all that is really known is Cook and Jennings will open and Broad and Anderson will bat 10 and 11. Our guess? Bairstow bats 4 (though we would have him at 3) Stokes at 5, Buttler at 6, Ali at 7 then Curran at 8. It won’t really matter if England collapse in the manner they have of late.