England – India: Jos Buttler misses fourth test on Kia Oval


Jos Buttler
Jos Buttler has an average of 33.33 in test cricket, but only 14.44 in this series

Goalkeeper Jos Buttler will miss the fourth test against India starting on Thursday as his wife is expecting their second child.

Jonny Bairstow, who played as a special striker in the first three tests, will keep the door in his absence.

Versatile Chris Woakes is returning to the 15-man squad after a heel injury.

Tempo bowler Mark Wood has recovered from a shoulder problem that kept him away inings-and-76-run win in the third test.

Fast bowler Saqib Mahmood, part of the team at Emerald Headingley but neglected for the last XI, was left out to accept Wood’s return.

Sam Billings, who has 25 one-day and 32 Twenty20 appearances for England but has never played a test, will provide cover for running tickets to Bairstow.

The five-game streak is 1-1.

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Composition of England: Joe Root (Captain), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Sam Billings (wk), Rory Burns, Sam Curran, Haseeb Hameed, Dan Lawrence, Dawid Malan, Craig Overton, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Chris Woakes , Mark Wood.

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Bairstow takes off his gloves

Bairstow, 31, has held the door in 48 of his 77 tests, but not since the last ash test in 2019. Buttler, Ben Foakes, James Bracey and Ollie Pope have since stayed for England.

Bairstow averages 37.85 with a bat in Tests as a keeper, and 27.41 when he plays as a special striker.

However, he had just regained the settled spot by hitting number five after two years of going in and out of the side and moving up and down in a row.

England head coach Chris Silverwood said Bairstow “enjoys” the retention. “As we all know, he has the skills to seamlessly take over Jos and the ability to achieve key successes in the middle order if asked to do so,” he said.

In the absence of Buttler, who strikes at six, Ollie Pope is likely to step aside. He was part of the team for the first three tests without playing.

Woakes returned on Friday after the first month after more than a month break, scoring 1-37 and scoring 14 goals in a loss to Kent in the T20 Blast Birmingham Bears quarterfinals.

“For the first time in this series, it’s a pleasure to have several options with our bowling stock as we approach the final stages of the series,” Silverwood said.

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