England have named James Anderson ahead of Jamie Overton for the rescheduled fifth Test against India, the playing XI of which was announced on Thursday. India are leading the series 2-1 which had to be postponed after a COVID-19 breakout in their camp. (More Cricket News)
Anderson, who will turn 40 next month, missed his side’s 3-0 sweep over reigning World Test champions New Zealand at Headingley because of a ‘puffy ankle’, though he was seen bowling during breaks in the Test.
Overton, who made his debut in the third Test against New Zealand struck a vital 97 at Headingley last week. However, Ben Foakes missed the India test as he is yet to recover from COVID-19. Sam Billings, who became England’s first official COVID substitute retains his place against India.
After England were reduced to 55/6 in the first innings of the third Test against New Zealand, it was Overton’s brilliant 97 that played a crucial role in their resurrection. Along with Jonny Bairstow, who struck a majestic 162, Overton added 241 runs for the seventh wicket.
However, his two wickets in two innings may have gone against him against India. Meanwhile, England have made seven changes from the side that played in the fourth Test last year. Openers Zak Crawley and Alex Lees have replaced Rory Burns and Haseeb Hameed at the top.
Dawid Malan, Craig Overton, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes and Ollie Robinson are the other absentees. Current England captain Ben Stokes, too, is one of the player to sit out of last year’s matches as he was taking a mental health break from the sport that time.
Meanwhile, India are still pondering over the fitness of captain Rohit Sharma, who is in isolation after contracting COVID-19. The right-hander is racing against time to be fit for the Test match. The management is likely to take a call on Thursday evening.
If Rohit is ruled out of the Test match, Jasprit Bumrah will lead the side. India head coach Rahul Dravid didn't want to give it away but said that if the situation arises, number three can be asked to open which means that Cheteshwar Pujara might be seen opening the batting with Shubman Gill.
“Any such decision is taken in consultation with the player. As a player not every situation is as expected and it can happen at times that number three will have to open,” Dravid said on the eve of the Test match.
England Playing XI vs India: Alex Lees, Zak Crawley, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes (c), Sam Billings (wk), Matthew Potts, Stuart Broad, Jack Leach, James Anderson