Rejigged England face revived rivals in fourth Test


The five match Test series between India and England in England is wide open now as the visitors clinched a big victory over the hosts in the third Test in Trent Bridge.

India's Ishant Sharma (left) appeals successfully for the wicket of England's Joe Root by LBW on the first day of the fourth test.

Root also announced all-rounder Moeen Ali's return for his first Test of the summer at the expense of dropped batsman Ollie Pope - whose No.4 position will be filled by Bairstow, while Sam Curran is back as well for the injured Chris Woakes.

Ater fracturing a finger in the third Test, England wicket-keeper Jonny Bairstow was on Tuesday cleared to play in the fourth Test against India starting Thursday (tomorrow). Bairstow has been the top-scorer for England in the Pataudi Trophy 2018 with 206 runs in five innings with two half-centuries, at an average of 41.20.

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The new deal includes a little more than $100 million in guaranteed money, according to the person close to the negotiations. The 14th-year veteran is the league's all-time leader in passer rating (103.8) and interception rate (1.6%).

Whether Jonny Bairstow is fit to play after suffering a broken finger during India's dominant win in the third Test, has still to be decided.

In current form the prospect of facing England's openers must be as energising as downing a double espresso, and suitably enthused, India's bowlers were soon running riot in Southampton.

England one-day keeper Jos Buttler took the gloves for the remainder of the match, and will do so against at Southampton if Bairstow can not keep.

England are not yet planning to call up anyone as cover. "At all times, you're not far away from playing", Root added.

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"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 hard weeks", he said. It is good for our country (Indian cricket) that we have got such an attack after a long time and if you compare one on one (with England or any other opponent), we have better bowlers. We could get to the Oval and it'll be very different again - that is being a part of a squad.

"I think [Pope] is a very good player who has shown a lot of promise in his global start", Root said. But Ishant Sharma, trapped him with a full delivery that nipped back, giving him his 250th wicket in his 86th Test.

"I'm very, very keen to keep my spot as the keeper because I'd like to think it's gone pretty well over the last 38, 39 Test matches keeping for England".

"There were a lot of questions asked in my early career as a keeper". "It might not harm us not to put in our best performance halfway through the series because it makes us want to come back and put the record straight", Bairstow said.

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Meanwhile, India captain Virat Kohli senses his side have a chance to seize the moment against England in Southampton.