The fifth and final test between England and India has been clouded in uncertainty since another staff member of the Indian contingent tested positive for COVID-19. This forced the visitors to cancel their training session on the eve of the fifth Test.
After all the Indian players tested negative in the new round of RT-PCR tests that took place on Thursday, the upcoming match at Old Trafford in Manchester will take place according to plan from Friday.
The five-match series is currently 2-1, with India lead the proceedings after winning two matches while the hosts could only win in one match. The first test ended in a draw.
The field at Old Trafford is considered bats friendly especially in the early stages of the game. Teams that win the toss tend to bat first, as the average total of the first innings at the venue is 435. Spinners also play a big role and come in handy from day 3.
Head-to-head record (in England):
Matches Played: 66 | England win: 35 | India wins: 9 | Trek: 22 | Bound: 0
Given the must-win nature of the game, the odds are high James Anderson and Ollie Robinson will play despite their heavy work in the series. Mark Wood can replace Craig Overton, and since then Joe Root made it clear Jos Buttler plays the last Test, can replace the latter Jonny Bairstow as Ollie Pous proved his strength in the previous game.
ENG XI: Joe Root (c), Rory Burns, Haseeb Hameed, David Malan, Ollie Pope, Jos Buttler (wk), Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Ollie Robinson, Mark Wood / Craig Overton, James Anderson.
There is still no confirmation or Rohit Sharma and Cheteshwar Pujara recovered from their knee and ankle injuries respectively. If they are not fit enough, then Mayank Agarwal and Hanuma Vihari will replace them.
Given the high input, Virat Kohli would not rest Jasprit Bumrah for this game, but Mohammed Siraj can be replaced by Mohammed Shami. Despite help from spinners, it is highly unlikely that India will change their 4-1 pace-turn combination.
IND XI: Virat Kohli (c), KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah.
Broadcast and Live Streaming Details:
- In the: Sony SIX, Sony Ten; SonyLIV
- United Kingdom: Sky Sports
- Australia: Fox Cricket
- USA: Willow TV
- New Zealand: Spark Sport