Buttler will definitely play in fifth Test against India – Root

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Jos Buttler and Joe Root
Jos Buttler returns for the final Test against India, who lead the series 2-1 with one match left to play
Venue: Emirates Old Trafford Date: 10-14 September Time: 11:00 BST
Coverage: In-play highlights, Test Match Special commentary and text coverage on the BBC Sport website and app. Watch daily highlights on Today at the Test at 19:00 BST on BBC Two (19:30 on 10 September) and BBC iPlayer.

Jos Buttler will return as England’s vice-captain and wicketkeeper for the fifth and final Test against India at Emirates Old Trafford.

Buttler played in the first three Tests but missed the fourth due to the birth of his second child.

Moeen Ali stood in as vice-captain in his absence while Jonny Bairstow kept wicket.

India lead the series 2-1 after winning by 157 runs at the Kia Oval.

It will not be a straightforward decision with regard to who misses out in the XI following Buttler’s return.

In the fourth Test, Bairstow moved down a place in the batting order to number six, while Ollie Pope made 81 in England’s first innings batting at five.

“Jos will come back into the team and keep wicket. I can tell you that right now,” said England captain Joe Root.

“Regardless of what’s going on around Australia [Buttler has indicated he may not play in this winter’s Ashesexternal-link if families aren’t allowed to travel], we’ll deal with that when we have the information available to us. We’ve got to look at this series right now, and make the decisions that are most important for this series.

“Ollie batted brilliantly in the first innings, and we want that competition for places within the batting group. We need those performances more regularly.”

There have been concerns over the fitness of England’s bowlers, particularly James Anderson and Ollie Robinson, who have played in all four Tests so far.

Root said the decision on whether to play Somerset spinner Jack Leach alongside Moeen will depend on the pitch and conditions at Old Trafford.

‘We need to recognise the key moments’

Periods of “half an hour here and there” have really cost England in losing the two Tests so far, Root said.

“Putting three sessions together for five days is what we need to keep looking to do and be stronger at,” he said.

Root highlighted Jasprit Bumrah’s spell of bowling after lunch on day five at The Oval as a key moment in England losing that game.

Bumrah took 2-6 in a destructive spell that got rid of Pope and Bairstow, both for a duck.

“If we’d just found a way to get through that, the game could have looked completely different.

“There are small areas we can just look to improve on that will make a massive differences and could’ve resulted in us being 2-1 up and not them.”

Root also said he has recently spoken to England all-rounder Ben Stokes, who has taken a break from all forms of cricket.

“At no point did we speak about cricket,” Root said. “It’s a decision for him to make in his own time and there should be no pressure to do that.”