Fourth Test build-up: Jonny Bairstow to play as batsman only

Getting the go-ahead: England's Jonny Bairstow during the nets session.Getting the go-ahead: England's Jonny Bairstow during the nets session.
Getting the go-ahead: England's Jonny Bairstow during the nets session.
JOS BUTTLER will keep wicket for England in the fourth Test against India in Southampton.

Yorkshire’s Jonny Bairstow will play as a specialist batsman, while Moeen Ali and Sam Curran replace Ollie Pope and Chris Woakes (sore right thigh).

James Vince, who was named in a 14-man squad as batting cover on his home ground for Bairstow, left England training shortly before midday and is expected to join Hampshire for their rain-delayed County Championship fixture against Essex at Chelmsford.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Bairstow tested his broken finger in the Ageas Bowl nets before being cleared to play as a specialist batsman, as England seek to wrap up the series with an unassailable 3-1 lead.

England captain Joe Root was pleased to welcome Moeen Ali back.

Root said: “He’s in fine form, he’s gone back to his county and - what you want from international players is for them to go back and prove a point - and that’s exactly what Moeen’s done in the last couple of weeks.

“He seems in a really good place so that’s a good sign for England moving forward and good for him as he’s obviously gone away and worked really hard at his game.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Regarding Buttler keeping wicket, he added: “It was a medical call, he (Bairstow) didn’t seem fit to be able to keep 100 per cent in a Test match for five days and that was the call that was made.

“He will be disappointed but ultimately we’ve got to make sure we do the best thing for this team to win this game and I believe Jos is the right man to do it this time.”

The England captain is confident his side can bounce back from last week’s 203-run defeat.

He added: “It’s a big week, no doubt. We under-performed last week - that’s the bottom line - and we have a great opportunity to put that right this time around.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“I think one of our big strengths as a squad is our strength of character and, at home in particular, we’re very good at bouncing back after difficult weeks. We’ve done it time and time again before and we don’t expect anything less from the group this time as well.”