Woakes and Pope out, Curran and Moeen back

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Captain Joe Root has confirmed seamer Chris Woakes will not play in England’s fourth Test against India, which will start at the Rose Bowl in Southampton on Thursday.

Woakes has been sidelined by a thigh injury. All-rounder Ben Stokes has been retained despite “a slight issue”, while batsman Ollie Pope has been dropped – and all-rounders Moeen Ali and Sam Curran recalled.

The talented Jos Buttler has replaced the injured Jonny Bairstow as wicketkeeper-batsman. Bairstow will play as a specialist batsman.

“Chris is not fit to play this week and Ben Stokes has a slight issue so for the balance of the side Moeen comes in for Ollie,” said Root.

“Jos is going to keep wicket. It’s a lot to ask Jonny to do it with a broken finger, but he’s fit to bat. We have to do the best thing for this team to win the game. There are no guarantees in international sport.

Ali impressed in the County Championship recently, scoring a fine double-century and securing a second-innings six-for for Worcestershire against Yorkshire.

“Moeen has done exactly what you’d want him to do, he’s been scoring runs and taking wickets in county cricket and should be full of confidence,” added Root.

England’s series lead was halved by defeat in the third Test at Trent Bridge. They had won the first and second at Edgbaston and Lord’s, respectively.

“We’ve bounced back from difficult defeats before and that’s the challenge for us to do it again here,” concluded Root.

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