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Buttler to replace Duckett in England Test team

Jos Buttler

Jos Buttler averages 30 in 15 Tests for England, since making his debut in 2014

Jos Buttler will replace Ben Duckett for the third Test against India, which begins on Saturday, England captain Alastair Cook has confirmed.

Lancashire wicketkeeper Buttler, who has played just one first-class game in 13 months, will bat at number seven.

Duckett averages just six with the bat in India after two Tests.

Stuart Broad and Zafar Ansari have both been ruled out, with Chris Woakes set to come into the side. The rest of the team will be confirmed at the toss.

However, Cook hopes fast bowler Broad will be ready for the fourth Test in Mumbai once he has received treatment on an injured toe.

‘Changes forced upon England’

England slipped to 80-5 while conceding a first-innings deficit of 200 in the second Test in Visakhapatnam, then lost their last eight wickets for 66 runs on the final day as India won by 246 runs.

Cook said it was not “ideal” having to make changes, but said they were forced upon England, who will promote Moeen Ali to bat at four and Jonny Bairstow to five.

“Unfortunately Ben hasn’t scored the runs he would have liked so it gives Jos an opportunity,” Cook said.

“Playing as a specialist batter at seven is quite unusual but Jonny has been in outstanding form and it gives him a chance to bat a bit more and takes the pressure off Jos.

“What we do know is that Jos is an incredibly good cricketer.”

India captain Virat Kohli says he is fully “aware” of the threat Buttler could pose.

The one-day specialist has previous experience of playing in India from his time in the IPL.

“I was surprised to see him left out after a couple of bad runs,” said Kohli. “He is a very talented player. We have all seen him do really well for England.

“We know he is a quality player and understand his potential. We are quite aware of what he brings to the table.”

Analysis

by Jonathan Agnew, BBC cricket correspondent

With only one first-class match under his belt in the past year and no cricket of any type for six weeks, this is a huge challenge for Buttler.

But at least he’s under less pressure at seven then at four.

It means Moeen moving there, Bairstow five and Stokes six as England decide whether to play two or three spinners.

It’s the fourth Test England have played on this ground but never on a pitch like this: much drier, and with a lot of cracks, this is sure to take spin and heavily favour the team that wins the toss and bats well first.

How will the pitch play?

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Win toss, win game? Vaughan on Mohali pitch

Mohali was initially seen as the venue where England could select four seamers and just two spinners, but the pitch is already bare at both ends.

It means Cook is yet to decide on the final make-up of his bowling attack – with off-spinner Gareth Batty competing with fast bowlers Steven Finn and Jake Ball for the final place in the starting XI.

“The stats here say it might suit seam but looking at the wicket yesterday morning it was quite a dry wicket,” he added. “We just need to have another look at that.”

Kohli, meanwhile, believes the Mohali wicket is the same as it has always been.

He added: “It should be a wicket where the team that plays better cricket will win.”

‘I laugh off speculation’

Earlier this week, South Africa captain Faf du Plessis was fined for ball-tampering after licking his finger and shining the ball while eating a sweet in his side’s Test series against Australia.

Kohli was linked with a similar practice after the drawn first Test in Rajkot, which the India skipper said was surprising.

“If I was doing something the ICC would have spoken to me,” he said. “It is to take the focus away from the series.

“I am surprised the issue came up in Rajkot. Allegations and speculation. I don’t read newspapers so I laugh it off and don’t pay attention.”

England captain Cook, who says he chews chewing gum, called it a “grey area” and questioned how authorities could police such an issue.

We’ll get better with DRS – Kohli

India agreed to trial the decision review system (DRS) for the first time in this Test series against England, and Kohli says he is “pretty happy with it”.

“We are going to get better at using it and understanding it,” said Kohli. “It is just one way to make sure everyone knows if the correct decision has been made or not.

“The umpires’ call is respected even in the DRS decision. I think that is pretty fair.”

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cricket/38101943