Jonny Bairstow will regain England’s Test wicketkeeping gloves from Jos Buttler at The Oval after proving he has recovered sufficiently from his broken finger.
The switch comes after Bairstow had to play as a specialist batsman against India in Southampton last week while the finger he broke previously at Trent Bridge was still healing.
England completed a series victory over India with a 60-run success at the Ageas Bowl, and it was thought highly likely Buttler would retain the gloves for the final Specsavers Test of the summer.
It was Bairstow rather than Buttler who was busy with his wicketkeeping drills, however, as England prepared at The Oval over the past two days.
Then shortly before captain Joe Root addressed an early-afternoon press conference on Thursday, a statement on the England and Wales Cricket Board website read: “Jonny Bairstow will keep wicket after recovering from a broken middle finger.”
On the same topic, Root added: “I hope (Jonny) uses it as a real driving force to keep improving.”
Root also spoke about the moment England’s all-time record runscorer Alastair Cook informed him this Test would be the last of his career.
Asked for his reaction when Cook confided in him last week, he paused before saying: “Sad.
“I’s been an outstanding career – 12 years at the top of the order.
“To have a record like that is some feat, especially in these (English) conditions for the majority of it.”
England have stuck with the same XI which beat India in Southampton to take an unassailable 3-1 lead.
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