Moeen Ali and Joe Root
Moeen Ali (left) has been named as Joe Root’s vice-captain for the fourth Test
Venue: Kia Oval Date: 2-6 September Time: 11:00 BST
Coverage: In-play highlights, Test Match Special commentary and text coverage on the BBC Sport website and app. Watch daily highlights on Today at the Test at 19:00 BST on BBC Two (BBC Four on 3 September) and iPlayer

England are mulling over their pace options for the crucial fourth Test against India at The Kia Oval, beginning on Thursday.

Sam Curran could drop out of the side that won the third Test, with Chris Woakes and Mark Wood in contention after returning from injuries.

Moeen Ali has been named England’s vice-captain, with Jos Buttler missing for the birth of his second child.

The series is level at 1-1 with two matches to play.

In Buttler’s absence, Jonny Bairstow will keep wicket for England, with Ollie Pope set to come into the middle order.

India have added pace bowler Prasidh Krishna to their squad, while they may also opt to field off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin for the first time in the series.

After the first Test was drawn, India won a thrilling second Test in the final hour of the final day at Lord’s, only for England to emphatically hit back with victory by an innings and 76 runs at Headingley.

“We are really good at coming back from behind,” said Moeen. “Now we need to put in the performance that will put us ahead.

“We are confident that we can do that. If we can repeat anything like we did at Headingley, I’m sure we’ve got a good chance.”

Moeen, 34, was only recalled to the England side for the second Test, but skipper Joe Root said he was “absolutely the right man” to step up as vice-captain.

“Mo is natural leader, someone that the team gravitate towards,” said Root.

“He’s got a brilliant cricket brain, he’s done wonderfully well in domestic cricket. I’m really excited for him.”

Surrey left-arm seamer Curran has taken only three wickets in the three matches of this series, so is vulnerable to missing out on his home ground.

With Stuart Broad out because of a calf injury, Ollie Robinson has established himself as James Anderson’s new-ball partner, and both are set to play unless England opt for rest and rotation.

Craig Overton, who played his first Test in two years at Headingley, impressed by taking six wickets in the match.

Wood, 31, missed the third Test with a shoulder injury sustained while fielding at Lord’s. Though he is fit to bowl at The Oval, throwing could be an issue.

Woakes, 32, has not played a Test in more than a year through a combination of being rested, injured and at one point being in isolation after being deemed to be a close contact of Moeen, who contracted Covid in January.

Though he has recovered from a heel injury, Woakes has only played a three-day second XI game and a T20 for Warwickshire since the beginning of July.

India seamer Ishant Sharma struggled at Headingley, but bowling coach Bharat Arun said Krishna’s inclusion in their squad was only a “precaution”.

The tourists have fielded four frontline pace bowlers in their XI in each of the first three Tests, with Ravindra Jadeja as the sole spinner.

When asked if they may choose to include Ashwin, who has 413 Test wickets, Arun said: “History at The Oval says it will spin.

“It depends on the conditions. Ashwin no doubt is one of the best bowlers that we have. It is unfortunate he has not played so far.”

Banner Image Reading Around the BBC - BlueFooter - BlueSource: BBC

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *