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30th-Aug-2018

Problems aplenty for England including revived India

By Agency

England head into Thursday's fourth Test against a resurgent India at Southampton facing several awkward questions.
Whether Jonny Bairstow is fit to play at all, never mind keep wicket, after suffering a broken finger during India's dominant 203-run win in the third Test at Trent Bridge, has still to be decided.
"The swelling has gone down," Bairstow told reporters in Southampton on Tuesday.
"I'm going to try and keep wicket in training this afternoon as well."
Even if Bairstow is included purely as a specialist batsman, England, seeking a victory that would see them win the series, will still have to consider whether they need to bolster their fallible top order.
The risk in fielding an injured player was highlighted by India's Mohammed Shami, who said Bairstow would be targeted if he batted at Southampton.
"When you see that a batsman has a weakness and he feels uncomfortable in some way, you'd prefer to work on that aspect," said paceman Shami. "We will definitely look at that."
If Bairstow is ruled out completely, James Vince is set for an England recall on his home ground, with one-day wicket-keeper Jos Buttler taking over behind the stumps as happened during the third Test. But even if Bairstow plays, the in-form Vince could still return in a bid to strengthen the batting -- England have been 100 for four or worse in half of their past 62 Test innings. Vince was dropped by England after a tour of Australia and New Zealand that left him with overall Test figures of 548 runs from 13 matches at a low average of 24.90 and a top score of 83.
But this season the Hampshire captain has scored 847 runs at an average of 56.46 in England's first-class County Championship.
That includes innings of 74 and 147 against Nottinghamshire at Southampton last week.