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England’s vice-captain Jos Buttler will miss the fourth LV= Insurance Test against India as he prepares for the birth of his second child, but all-rounder Chris Woakes has been passed fit to rejoin the squad after injury.
Buttler has been light on runs in the first three matches, with a top score of 25, but his wicketkeeping has been tidy with 18 catches under his belt.
He has also been a key part of the on-field leadership group, stepping up as Joe Root’s deputy in the ongoing absence of Ben Stokes.
England are yet to name a new vice-captain for Thursday’s game, but James Anderson has previously performed the role while both Moeen Ali and Rory Burns have captaincy experience.
With scores level at 1-1 following England’s innings victory at Headingley, Jonny Bairstow will take up the gloves.
He has been an ever present in the top five during the series but may now slot back down a place to number six, allowing one of Ollie Pope or Dan Lawrence to come in.
Bairstow is no stranger to the role, having kept in 48 of his 77 Test appearances, but Sam Billings of Kent has been included in a 15-man group as cover.
Woakes has not played a Test in the past year, largely due to fitness issues, but is back in contention after making a successful comeback from his recent heel problem.
For the first time in this series, it is pleasing to have several options with our bowling stocks as we approach the latter stages of the series
Having lost Jofra Archer and Stuart Broad to long-term injuries, a comeback for the ultra-reliable 32-year-old represents some long-awaited good news from the treatment room.
Mark Wood was unfit to play in third Test after sustaining a shoulder injury in the field at Lord’s and he will be assessed by team medics before a final decision on his availability.
“We would like to wish Jos and his family all the very best for the impending birth of their second child. Unfortunately, he will miss this Test, and we’ll then see if he returns for the final Test at Emirates Old Trafford,” said head coach Chris Silverwood.
“Jonny Bairstow will take over wicketkeeping duties, which he is relishing. As we all know, he has the skills to seamlessly take over from Jos and the ability to score crucial runs in the middle-order if called upon.”
On Woakes, who has played a Twenty20 Blast quarter-final for Birmingham Bears and a Warwickshire second XI game to get his workloads up, he added: “It is very pleasing that we have Chris returning to the Test squad.
“He has bowled well over the past week with Warwickshire without any real concerns with his heel injury. He is an asset we have been missing both with the ball and his ability to score runs in the middle order.
“For the first time in this series, it is pleasing to have several options with our bowling stocks as we approach the latter stages of the series.”
England squad for 4th Test: J Root (c), M Ali, J Anderson, J Bairstow (wkt), S Billings (wkt), R Burns, S Curran, H Hameed, D Lawrence, C Overton, O Pope, O Robinson, C Woakes, M Wood.