James Vince recalled to England squad as cover for Jonny Bairstow ahead of fourth Test against India

England lead the summer series 2-1 ahead of the fourth Test at the Ageas Bowl, which begins next Thursday

Jos Buttler 'lost for words' after maiden Test century

England’s perennial top-order batting anxieties have led them back into the warm and mercurial embrace of James Vince. The Hampshire batsman has been recalled to the squad for the fourth Test against India at the Rose Bowl in Southampton, having been dropped at the start of the summer after underwhelming tours of Australia and New Zealand.

Despite an underwhelming record in Test cricket – an average of just 25 in 13 Tests – Vince has been in good form for Hampshire this season, averaging 56 in Division One of the County Championship, and coming off the back of 74 and 147 in his last game. And the broken finger suffered by Jonny Bairstow during the third Test at Trent Bridge, as well as the prospect of playing on his home ground, has given Vince a third shot at nailing down his place.

“The selection panel felt this was the right time to reintroduce James Vince to the Test squad,” said National Selector Ed Smith. “James returns to the England setup in confident form and scoring runs.” Smith also noted his match-winning performance against Nottinghamshire this week, having told him earlier this year that for all his style at the crease, he needed to win more games with the bat.

England squad for the third test

England lead India 2-1

Joe Root (c)
Moeen Ali
Jimmy Anderson
Jonny Bairstow
Stuart Broad
Jos Buttler
Alastair Cook
Sam Curran
Keaton Jennings
Ollie Pope
Adil Rashid
Ben Stokes
James Vince
Chris Woakes

Vince may not play if Bairstow’s finger is deemed to have healed sufficiently to allow him to bat at Southampton. If selected, Bairstow will play as a batsman only, probably at No4, with Jos Buttler taking the gloves and Ollie Pope dropping a place to No5. Bairstow’s finger will be assessed in the run-up to the game, and ultimately the decision may come down not to whether he can bat with extra padding on his finger, but whether he will be able to field effectively.

Either way, it is a surprise reprieve for Vince, who at the age of 27 will know that this is surely his last chance to deliver on his immense talent, and salvage a career that – much like a typical Vince innings – got a start, before being abruptly cut off.

Bairstow fractured a finger catching Jimmy Anderson’s delivery

Essex seam bowler Jamie Porter, who received a maiden call-up for the Test at Edgbaston but has not been included in any of Joe Root’s teams, makes way in the 14-man squad for Vince.

Porter was the leading wicket-taker in the 2017 County Championship but has been omitted from the England squad in order to continue playing for Essex.

“Jamie Porter has been part of the last three Test squads. But the selection panel did not want him to miss the opportunity of playing for Essex in the next round of championship matches,” said Smith. “He will return to the squad in the event of an injury to a seam bowler.”

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