Nottingham (Agencies): Jonny Bairstow will keep wicket for England in the fifth and final Test against India at The Oval, the England and Wales Cricket Board announced Thursday.
Bairstow broke a finger keeping during India’s 203-run win in the third Test at Trent Bridge, with England limited-overs gloveman Jos Buttler taking over behind the stumps in Nottingham. Buttler was England’s keeper again, with Bairstow deployed as a specialist batsman, in a series-clinching 60-run win in the fourth Test at Southampton.
However, England, who are 3-1 up in this five-match campaign, have returned the gloves to Bairstow for the Oval Test, which starts on Friday. “Jonny Bairstow will keep wicket after recovering from a broken middle finger,” said an ECB statement. As happened in the second innings at Southampton, all-rounder Moeen Ali is due to bat at number three, with England captain Joe Root continuing in his favoured position of number four.
But England have retained the same 11 players for what will be national record run-scorer Alastair Cook’s final Test before the 33-year-old former captain retires from international cricket. “Jonny’s been the Test keeper for a long time now and has done a fantastic job,” Root said at The Oval on Thursday. “It’s not a reflection on the way Jos went about things in the last game at all. “But long-term, you look at scheduling of all international cricket across the formats, and sharing that workload could be really key in terms of keeping everyone fresh and ready at the top of their game.”
He added: “I think it’s a great way for those two guys to drive each other’s games forward as well. We’re very fortunate to be in the position where we have two quality keepers.”
Root, however, was adamant he had not succumbed to ‘player power’ from Yorkshire colleague Bairstow, who has made it clear he wants to keep wicket in Tests.
“No, definitely not,” he said. “I made it very clear if he’s going to be the Test match wicket-keeper he is going to have to keep working really hard and that he might have been performing well for a long period of time but he’s going to have to keep doing that.
“I’m confident we have the right balance and team for this last game,” Root added.
England team to play India in fifth Test:
Alastair Cook, Keaton Jennings, Moeen Ali, Joe Root (capt), Jonny Bairstow (wkt), Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Adil Rashid, Stuart Broad, Jimmy Anderson