Ollie Pope has been deemed not yet fit to make England’s Test eleven, whilst Jack Leach has again not been selected. The full England line-up reads Rory Burns, Dom Sibley, Zak Crawley, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Dan Lawrence, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Ollie Robinson, Stuart Broad and James Anderson.
The other big story is the re-call of Jonny Bairstow, whose inclusion will look to fill the batting void left by the withdrawal of Ben Stokes. Jos Buttler remains down on the teamsheet as England’s glovesman.
The absence of Jack Leach will no doubt be perplexing to many onlookers, with England’s attack seemingly one-dimensional should the pitch dry out as the game goes on. It perhaps reflects a growing confidence from Joe Root in his own ability to pick up the off-spinning slack should the seamers begin to falter.
Shardul Thakur and KL Rahul have come in for India, whose big decision has come in the form of the dropping of Ravichandran Ashwin after the World Test Championship final against New Zealand. Given the prior form of the off-spinner and his historic tormenting of England elevens, I for one breathed a sizeable sigh of relief to see his omission.
The full India eleven is Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Mohammad Siraj.