England bat against India in fourth Test

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England captain Joe Root won the toss and elected to bat against India in the fourth Test at Southampton on Thursday.

Root had confirmed England’s team on Wednesday, with the hosts looking to bounce back from a 203-run defeat in the third Test at Trent Bridge that still left them 2-1 up in this five-match series.

Off-spinning all-rounder Moeen Ali and left-arm swing bowler Sam Curran replaced top-order batsman Ollie Pope and pace-bowling all-rounder Chris Woakes, out with a thigh problem.

Meanwhile, Jos Buttler kept wicket instead of Jonny Bairstow after deputising when the Yorkshireman broke a finger behind the stumps.

Bairstow, however, remained in the side as a specialist number four in a reshaped top-order where several batsmen were in unfamiliar positions.

India, however, were unchanged for the first time in Virat Kohli’s captaincy after off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin was passed fit following a groin problem.

India are bidding to become just the second team in history to win a five-match Test series from 2-0 down.

An Australia side inspired by batting great Don Bradman remain the only team to have achieved that feat, against England in 1936/37.

Meanwhile England paceman James Anderson needs just six more wickets to equal retired Australia star Glenn McGrath’s mark of 563 — the most taken by any fast bowler in Test history.

This will be the last Test match staged at Southampton’s Ageas Bowl, the headquarters of south coast county Hampshire, until at least 2025, with all of England’s home Tests for the next six years allocated to the six ‘traditional’ venues of Lord’s, The Oval, Edgbaston, Trent Bridge, Old Trafford and Headingley.

Teams

England: Alastair Cook, Keaton Jennings, Joe Root (capt), Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler (wkt), Moeen Ali, Sam Curran, Adil Rashid, Stuart Broad, James Anderson

India: KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (capt), Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant (wkt), Hardik Pandya, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah

Umpires: Kumar Dharmasena (SRI), Bruce Oxenford (AUS)

TV umpire: Joel Wilson (WIS)

Match referee: Andy Pycroft (ZIM)

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