England have added wicketkeeper-batter Jos Buttler and left-arm spinner Jack Leach in their squad for the fifth Test in Manchester set to get underway on September 10. Buttler opted out of the fourth Test due to the birth of his second daughter and was unlikely to return for the fifth game. However, an embarrassing loss at the Oval forced England to bring back their ace wicket-keeper as Jonny Bairstow had a bad game behind the wickets. Meanwhile, Jack Leach was in England’s squad for the first two Tests but was released to play for Somerset.
The surface at Old Trafford is known to assist the spinners and the weather forecast for the match is hot and humid which are ideal conditions for a spinner thus Leach may be included in the XI at the cost of one of the pacer, possibly Craig Overton. Sam Billings, who was called in as a cover for Jos Buttler has been released.
Buttler’s return to the side will see either Jonny Bairstow or Ollie Pope warming the bench in the final game. Ollie Pope scored an impressive 81 in the first inning of the Oval Test thus Bairstow, who’s averaging 26 in the series, is more likely to be dropped.
“Jos will be available for Old Trafford and yes there will be a decision that has to be made, so we’ll be making that over the next few days,” Silverwood said. “I’m going to keep my thoughts to myself for the moment, I’m going to have a sleep on it and then I can obviously make decisions from there. Myself and Joe can have a talk and make a decision.”
A string of injuries to their premier bowlers meant that England had to play James Anderson in all the matches so far. Given the workload Anderson has carried so far, Silverwood said there is a possibility of Anderson being rested in the final game.
“It’ll be a discussion that he and I will have together,” Silverwood said. “He will have input into that, without a shadow of a doubt. James knows his own body. We have got a bit of time now between this game and the next one. I know what it’s like, he won’t want to miss any cricket. We have to make sure we look after him. Although there is a gap between the final Test and what’s in front of him. He’s certainly someone I want to make sure is looked after.”
Also, pacer Mark Wood, who injured his shoulder during the Headingley Test is likely to make a comeback into the side. “He’s certainly someone who comes back into contention,” Silverwood said. “We have got some aching bodies, I’m not going to deny that, so we obviously have to keep an eye on that. He could come back and if he does, he will obviously add that pace for us. If the pitch is abrasive as it usually is at Old Trafford there should be reverse swing. He’s certainly back in contention.”
England are 2-1 down in the series and face a must win situation at Old Trafford. A loss or draw will give India their first series win in England since 2007.
England squad for fifth Test: Joe Root (c), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonathan Bairstow, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Haseeb Hameed, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Dawid Malan, Craig Overton, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.