After all the speculations regarding the inclusion of Ravichandran Ashwin in the Oval Test, India stuck to their four pacers, one spinner template and left Ashwin warming the bench in the fourth Test as well. India made two changes to their team and included pacers Umesh Yadav and Shardul Thakur in place of Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami, both of whom are carrying a niggle. Meanwhile, former England captain Michael Vaughan is not impressed with India’s selection and blasted the think-tank by calling the decision to leave out Ashwin ‘pure madness’.
— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) September 2, 2021
Oval is one surface in England that aids the spinners and Ashwin had played a warm-up game here ahead of the series, picking up six wickets thus many experts were sure that Ashwin will make it to the Indian playing XI in the fourth Test. However, that was not the case to be.
The hosts too made a couple of changes as Chris Woakes and Ollie Pope replaced Sam Curran and Jos Buttler respectively. England won the toss and opted to bowl which was a surprise as Oval has traditionally been a bat-first wicket. Indian skipper Virat Kohli too wanted to bowl first.
The series is evenly poised at 1-1 and the winner at The Oval will take an unassailable lead in the series. After a washout in the first Test, India claimed an emphatic win at Lords before England bounced back to make things even at Headingley.