England captain Joe Root indicated that wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler would be back in the XI for the fifth and final Test versus India that starts on Friday at Old Trafford in Manchester.
Buttler had skipped the fourth Test for the birth of his second child. Now that Buttler is set to return as vice-captain, the axe could fall either on Jonny Bairstow, who donned the wicketkeeper’s gloves in the previous game, or No.5 batsman Ollie Pope.
“Jos is integral to what we’re about. I know his output in terms of runs in this series hasn’t been as high as he would have liked but we know what a great player he is,” Root said on Wednesday.
“I think Jonny knew exactly what the scenario was when given the opportunity to keep last week.”
The captain acknowledged that his team needed to deliver even on pitches that are flat, but also stressed the importance of home advantage. “If we’re going to be the best team in the world, we’ll have to be able to play on wickets that are good and also flat in certain periods. We also have to learn to deal with scoreboard pressure as a batting group.”