The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) have announced a 16-man squad for the last match of the ICC World Test Championship series against India. Wicket-keeper batsman Jos Buttler and left-arm spinner Jack Leach are the two new players added to the team.
Buttler was part of the England squad for the first three Tests against India. However, he was unavailable for the fourth Test due to the birth of his second child. Sam Billings, who was drafted into the squad for the fourth Test as a backup wicket-keeper, has been dropped.
Meanwhile, England have hinted that they may play a specialist spinner in Manchester as they have added Leach to the team. Here is England’s full 16-man squad for the fifth Test.
England Squad for 5th Test against India: Joe Root (c), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jack Leach, Dawid Malan, Craig Overton, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Chris Woakes, Jonny Bairstow, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Haseeb Hameed, Dan Lawrence, Mark Wood.
Chris Woakes who was added to the squad in the fourth test had performed brilliantly. He scored a 50 with the bat, chipped in crucial wickets from time to time. In fact, the first wicket of the match belonged to him. He had dismissed Rohit Sharma with a remarkable good length ball that swung in and caught an edge of Rohit’s blade. Woakes would had played the earlier matches too. However, an injury had kept him off the field. It will be interesting to see if Woakes can continue his tremendous performance in the final match as well. His contribution will matter a lot if England wish to draw the match and eventually level the series at 2-2.
Ollie Pope, the other change, played an important knock of 81 in the first innings. He came in when England were 62-5 and took the hosts to a respectable score of 291. However, he fared poorly in the second innings and managed to score only 2 runs.
England are currently behind in the series by 1-2 against India. Even if they win the final Test in Manchester, the hosts will not be able to win the series.
Jos Butler has excellent record at Old Trafford
England’s wicket-keeper batsman Jos Buttler has an excellent Test record in Manchester. He has played eight innings on this ground, scoring 365 runs, including a 70-run knock against India in 2014.
Meanwhile, Jack Leach has only played a single Test at Old Trafford before, where he took three wickets against Australia. It will be interesting to see if both Buttler and Leach get a place in the playing XI.
The fifth Test of the England vs India series will begin this Friday at Old Trafford( Manchester). The start time is 11:00 AM Local Time (3:30 PM IST).