England wicket-keeper batsman Jos Buttler has returned to the squad for the 5th Test against India as the hosts look to level the series. India defeated England by 157 runs in the previous Test at Oval on Monday which put them in a 2-1 lead going into the final Test.
Buttler had taken leave in anticipation of the birth of his second child but will now be available for the Manchester Test. Jack Leach, who was England’s best bowler when they toured India earlier this year, has been added to the squad as well. Sam Billings was part of the squad for the previous Test but has been sent back to Kent.
“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. 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,” head coach Chris Silverwood said.
The 39-year-old James Anderson has played all four matches so far. Whether he is deemed to be fit for the Test at his home ground is yet to be seen. Silverwood wants to make sure his premier bowler is well-rested and maintains his fitness.
“It’ll be a discussion that he and I will have together. He will have input into that, without a shadow of a doubt. James knows his own body. 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 added.
On a flat deck at The Oval, one thing that England lacked was sheer pace in the form of Mark Wood. The coach confirmed that he was on their radar and considering how the pitch at Old Trafford has been in the past, Wood’s inclusion is definitely on the table.
“He’s certainly someone who comes back into contention. 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,” Silverwood added.
England squad for the 5th Test against India
Joe Root (c), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonathan Bairstow, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler (wk), Sam Curran, Haseeb Hameed, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Dawid Malan, Craig Overton, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.