England bat against India in 4th Test

Joe Root (Getty)
Joe Root (Getty)

Southampton - England captain Joe Root won the toss and elected to bat against India in the fourth Test at Southampton on Thursday.

Root had confirmed England's team on Wednesday, with the hosts looking to bounce back from a 203-run defeat in the third Test at Trent Bridge that still left them 2-1 up in this five-match series.

Off-spinning all-rounder Moeen Ali and left-arm swing bowler Sam Curran replaced top-order batsman Ollie Pope and pace-bowling all-rounder Chris Woakes, out with a thigh problem.

Ali was recalled in part because England have concerns that all-rounder Ben Stokes may not be able to bowl a full quota of overs because of a knee injury.

Meanwhile, Jos Buttler kept wicket instead of Jonny Bairstow after deputising when the Yorkshireman broke a finger behind the stumps during the third Test.

Bairstow, however, remained in the side as a specialist number four in a reshaped top-order where several batsmen were in unfamiliar positions.

"Conditions look good, it looks a good pitch and hopefully we can take advantage of what looks like a good surface," said Root at the toss.

"Chris Woakes is unfit so Sam Curran comes in and because Ben has an injury Mooen comes in for the balance of the side."

England paceman James Anderson needs just six more wickets to equal retired Australia star Glenn McGrath's mark of 563 - the most taken by any fast bowler in Test history.

India were unchanged for the first time in Virat Kohli's captaincy after off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin was passed fit following a groin problem.

"We would have batted first as well - it looks hard and it's probably the best pitch of the series," said star batsman Kohli, fresh from making 200 runs, including a century, at Trent Bridge, having performed the same feat in the series opener at Edgbaston.

"We have an unchanged side. It's not always been the case, but it's the first time in a long that time that we're going with the XI.

"We had all bases covered so we don't need to change. Ashwin is fit and ready to go.

"They key now is to work even harder than Nottingham and put in another performance again."

England have not lost two back-to-back home Tests since going down to successive defeats against South Africa in 2008.

India are bidding to become just the second team in history to win a five-match Test series from 2-0 down.

An Australia side inspired by batting great Don Bradman remain the only team to have achieved that feat, against England in 1936/37.

This will be the last Test match staged at Southampton's Ageas Bowl, the headquarters of south coast county Hampshire, until at least 2025, with all of England's home Tests for the next six years allocated to the six 'traditional' venues of Lord's, The Oval, Edgbaston, Trent Bridge, Old Trafford and Headingley.

Teams:

England

Alastair Cook, Keaton Jennings, Joe Root (captain), Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler (wkt), Moeen Ali, Sam Curran, Adil Rashid, Stuart Broad, James Anderson

India

KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (captain), Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant (wkt), Hardik Pandya, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah

Umpires: Kumar Dharmasena (SRI), Bruce Oxenford (AUS)

TV umpire: Joel Wilson (WIS)

Match referee: Andy Pycroft (ZIM)

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