Jos Buttler and Moeen Ali set to play at Old Trafford

Moeen Ali claimed the big wicket of Virat Kohli
September 08, 2021

Joe Root has confirmed that Jos Buttler will reclaim the gloves for the final Test of the LV= Insurance series against India at Emirates Old Trafford.

Root also indicated that Moeen Ali is seen as England's first-choice spinner and that Jack Leach will only play if conditions suggest two spinners are required.

Buttler missed the fourth Test of the series, at The Kia Oval, to be at the birth of his second child. In his absence, Jonny Bairstow took the gloves. But with Buttler returning, England will be left with a selection to make between Bairstow and Ollie Pope for the final batting spot in the side. With Pope having made 81 in the first innings, he is the one likely to retain his place.

Moeen endured a disappointing game at The Oval. While he made 35 in the first innings, his dismissal - attempting a slog when India appeared to be under pressure - was one of the turning points of the game. He also conceded more than 4.5 an over in India's second innings. But Root appeared to confirm he will retain his place for the final Test.

"Jos is the vice-captain of the team," Root said ahead of England's training session at Old Trafford on Wednesday. "He is integral to what we are about. I know his output, in terms of runs, hasn't been as high as he would have liked, but we know what a great player he is. Jos will be back as vice-captain and he will keep wicket.

"I'd say that Moeen Ali is our first spinner. I've not seen the pitch yet, but it can spin at Old Trafford and the option of two spinners is something we have to look at.

"Jack has done some fine things for England. We all know what he is capable of and we know he is a fine player. I'm sure Jack will be desperate to take the opportunity."

Root was unable to confirm whether James Anderson or Ollie Robinson would play the final Test. Both men looked weary at The Oval, having bowled a high volume of overs in the series to date. The England management will therefore be guided by medical advice and the appearance of both men at training over the next couple of days before making a decision.

"That's something we will weigh up over the next couple of days," Root said. "These two days are really important for recovery and making sure that they are in a position to play Test cricket.

"One thing you have to do is trust the medical advice that's been given. Also, speak to the players that know their own bodies better than anyone.

"You never want to go into a Test match playing someone under risk of injury. You want to do the best thing for the player but also you don't want to go into a Test match and someone go down injured and you have got one less bowler at your disposal."

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