IND vs ENG: England announce playing XI for Dharamsala Test

England have decided to stick with their seam-bowling line-up for the fifth Test against India in Dharamsala, making only one change to the XI that lost in Ranchi last month, with Mark Wood replacing Ollie Robinson. Despite speculations about bolstering the pace attack due to the cold conditions expected and the seam-friendly pitch, England have opted to maintain their composition.

The decision comes amidst discussions regarding the surface, which witnessed all 36 wickets falling to seamers during a recent Ranji Trophy encounter between Himachal Pradesh and Delhi. England’s choice reflects their confidence in their current bowling resources, despite the challenging conditions awaiting them in Dharamsala.

Following a thorough assessment of the pitch by the management panel comprising Ben Stokes, Brendon McCullum, Marcus Trescothick, and Jeetan Patel, The Three Lions have decided to maintain the squad balance that served them well in Ranchi. Shoaib Bashir’s off-spin and Tom Hartley’s left-arm spin will be retained, despite Bashir’s finger injury, which he sustained during the Ranchi clash.

England remain optimistic about Bashir’s ability to contribute despite the setback. Both Bashir and Robinson missed Wednesday’s training session in Dharamsala due to stomach issues. England’s decision highlights their commitment to the existing team dynamics and their belief in the spin-bowling resources at their disposal.

Ollie Robinson excluded after a dismal show in Ranchi

Ollie Robinson’s exclusion follows a lackluster performance in the fourth Test, where he sustained a back strain while batting in England’s first innings and wasn’t utilized during India’s successful chase. Mark Wood, England’s pace spearhead, replaces him after being rested in Ranchi due to workload concerns from the Rajkot game.

The absence of an extra seamer suggests a potential return to bowling for England’s captain, Ben Stokes, who has been gradually ramping up his net sessions during the tour following knee surgery in the winter. Robinson’s omission signifies England’s strategic reshuffle as they seek balance and effectiveness in their bowling attack.

England XI for the fifth Test: Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes (c), Ben Foakes (wk), Tom Hartley, Mark Wood, James Anderson, Shoaib Bashir