Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Shedding OFVINCE the Only Change for India Test

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Shedding OFVINCE the Only Change for India Test

Article excerpt

THERE will be devil in the detail for England at The Oval after they made just the simplest of amendments to their series-winning squad for the final Test.

The shedding of extra batsman James Vince is the only change to their options after the 60-run victory over India in Southampton which gave them an unassailable 3-1 lead with one to play.

Yet the world has moved on already since Sunday's success, thanks to the following morning's seismic announcement that all-time national record runscorer Alastair Cook will retire after this week's valedictory match.

The plaudits and eulogies for a remarkable 12-year career were still dominating back pages and airwaves when England quietly published their predictable 13-man squad yesterday.

In it, they resisted any temptation to name cover for the veteran opener - whose wife Alice is expecting their third child, with a due date understood to be towards the end of his last Test.

The exact timing of the Cooks' latest addition is just one of a raft of unknowns as England seek to put a gloss on their Specsavers series victory over the world's number one team. The vexed question of whether Jonny Bairstow or Jos Buttler keeps wicket is also 'to be confirmed', with the Yorkshireman as keen as ever to defy any pain from the finger he broke two Tests ago in Nottingham and get back behind as well as in front of the stumps.

There are more obvious hints, from the squad chosen and public utterances of captain and coach, that Joe Root will remain in the number four position he has just reclaimed - with all-rounder Moeen Ali continuing in the spot he was unexpectedly shunted up to for the second innings in Southampton.

Root did not seek to hide his own thoughts on the matter when he said: "I've always favoured number four. It's always been the place I felt I get the best out of myself. …

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