England head into the final Test trailing 2-1 and facing the prospect of their second Test series defeat to India this year, having been thrashed 3-1 on their tour of subcontinent earlier.
The English batting has probably not looked this weak and frail in some time, with the sole exception, of course, being their in-form captain Joe Root.
In the ongoing ICC World Test Championship 2021-23, of which this Test series is also a part, Root tops the scoring chart with a staggering 564 runs at an average of 94 runs. Next English batsman on the list is Jonny Bairstow, who has just 184 runs at an average of 26.28, which should explain why England are down 2-1 at home.
Their quest to level up the series has been somewhat strengthened by the return of Jos Buttler, who had missed the last match to attend the birth of his child. It means one of Jonny Bairstow and Ollie Pope will have to make way.
Captain Root has also strongly indicated that allrounder Moeen Ali would retain his place in the side despite a very ordinary performance in the fourth Test defeat.
India sit pretty on a 2-1 lead but also aware of the fact that things can change pretty quickly even in a Test match in England. Thus, they cannot afford to relax in the final Test.
They won the last Test on the basis of their big score (466) in the second innings when a Rohit Sharma century up top set the tone before the tail swelled up the score.
Shardul Thakur also played a big role, thanks to his half centuries in both the innings.
Along with the highest score of the match, India also made the lowest, with just 191 in their opening innings so that should be in the back of their mind.
Ajinkya Rahane failed in both the innings of the last Test but his place in the side should still not be in danger.
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