SOUTHAMPTON: England will hope an altered side can tame a resurgent India in the fourth Test at Southampton starting on Thursday.
Joe Root, the England captain, announced two changes on Wednesday to the team that suffered a 203-run defeat in the third Test at Trent Bridge.
Off-spinning all-rounder Moeen Ali and left-arm swing bowler Sam Curran have replaced top-order batsman Ollie Pope and pace-bowling all-rounder Chris Woakes, out with a thigh problem.
Meanwhile, Jos Buttler will keep wicket instead of Jonny Bairstow after deputising when the Yorkshireman broke a finger behind the stumps at Trent Bridge.
But Bairstow has been passed fit to play as a specialist batsman.
That meant there was no England recall for James Vince on the Hampshire captain´s home ground.
´More than capable´
Root, explaining why Bairstow was playing as a batsman, with England white-ball gloveman Buttler keeping wicket, told reporters at Southampton on Wednesday: “It was a medical call. He (Bairstow) didn´t seem fit to be able to keep 100 percent in a Test match for five days, and that was the call that was made.”
As for Bairstow´s promotion in a reshaped top order, Root said: “I think he´s more than capable of batting in the top four. He´s in fine form, he´s had a fantastic 12 months home and away.”
Meanwhile, an innings of 219 and figures of eight for 89 for Worcestershire against Yorkshire saw Ali recalled on a ground where he took six for 67 against India in England´s 266-run win during the corresponding Test four years ago.
“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,” said Root.
That 2014 Test also saw Alastair Cook end a run of low scores with an innings of 95 and England would be delighted if their all-time leading Test run-scorer put another bad trot behind him in similar fashion this week.