The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) have announced their playing XI for the fourth match of the Specsavers' Test series against India starting on Thursday (August 30th 2018) at the Ageas Rose Bowl in Southampton.
The England selectors have decided to go with Surrey seam-bowling all-rounder Sam Curran, while all-rounder Moeen Ali has also been included in the eleven. All-rounder Chris Woakes and young batsman Ollie Pope will miss the penultimate Test of the series. The rest of the team remains the same as that of the third Test.
Sam Curran was named the player of the match for his spirited all-round performance in the first Test that was held at Edgbaston. He played in the second Test as well, but then lost his spot for the third Test, which the side lost. Meanwhile, spinner Moeen Ali will be playing his first Test match for England in the ongoing season. His last game was against New Zealand at Christchurch in late 2017.
Woakes, who was a centurion in the second game (also the player of the match), experienced a recurrence of tightness in his right quad on Monday, following which he missed training on Tuesday. He will be unfit to play in the game starting tomorrow.
With Jonny Bairstow fit to bat, he has been retained in the team as a specialist batsman, while Jos Buttler will don the gloves. Batsman James Vince, who was named in a 14-man squad as batting cover for Bairstow, has not been included in the final XI.
According to a statement released by the ECB, captain Joe Root said, "Chris Woakes is not fit to play this week and Ben Stokes has a slight issue so for the balance of the side Moeen Ali comes in for Ollie Pope. Jos Buttler is going to keep. It’s a lot to ask Jonny to do it with a broken finger, he’s fit to bat. We have to do the best thing for this team to win the game. There are no guarantees in international sport."
The series currently stands 2-1 in favour of the hosts, with two games to go. India won the last game very convincingly, and England will look to do their best to stop them from making further inroads in the series.
England's playing XI: Alastair Cook, Keaton Jennings, Joe Root (c), Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler (w), Moeen Ali, Sam Curran, Adil Rashid, Stuart Broad, and James Anderson.