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Jonny Bairstow deemed "fit" for playing the fourth England-India Test

ANALYST
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381   //    28 Aug 2018, 21:52 IST

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A couple of days ahead of the fourth England v India Test match, English batsman and wicket-keeper Jonny Bairstow has been deemed fit to play, after an injury scare kept him out for nearly a day in the recently concluded Test match. Though he will bat, it is yet to be decided as to whether he will keep wicket for his side.

During the third day of the third Test match, James Anderson hurled a late-swinging delivery at Cheteshwar Pujara who avoided impact by moving away. The ball, unobstructed by him, travelled further and crashed into the fingers of Jonny Bairstow's left hand behind the stumps.

As the injured Bairstow went out immediately for an X-ray scan and further treatment in case of complications, Jos Buttler kept wickets in his place. Bairstow came into bat the next day, but was dismissed first ball, as England fell to a 203-run defeat.

In the upcoming fourth Test as well, Bairstow will mainly feature as a specialist batsman only, with Buttler available as a backup keeping option. However, the man from Yorkshire is keen to make a return as his side's wicketkeeper as well.

Ahead of the Test, which begins on Thursday at the Ageas Rose Bowl in Southampton, Bairstow said:

"The finger feels good, the swelling has gone down, and it is a lot better than I thought it was going to be. I am going to try and keep wicket in training. You obviously want to play so, if I am not able to keep wicket, then I'd like to think I would play as a specialist batsman. But at the same time, I am desperate to try and keep my place as the keeper."

Bairstow was attending the press meet for England earlier today, and that was when he made his observations. Upon being asked if he felt such a switch might get more from him as a batsman, Bairstow said: "I think that is quite a bold statement. If you look, my stats are better when I am keeping wicket as well, so you are entering uncharted territories when you make bold statements like that. I am very keen to keep my spot as keeper, because I like to think it has gone well over the last 38, 39 Test matches."

England won the first two Tests and India bounced back with a win in the third, making the series evenly poised at 2-1 in favour of the hosts right now, with two more games to go. Both sides will be extremely eager to script a win in the Southampton Test match, and hence it promises to be an exciting game.

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