Moeen Ali (left) has been named vice-captain to Joe Root for the fourth test
|Venue: Kia oval Date: 2nd-6th September Time: 11:00 CEST|
|Cover: In-play highlights, Test Match Special commentary and text coverage on the BBC Sport website and app. Check out the daily highlights on Today at the Test at 7:00 p.m. BST on BBC Two and iPlayer|
England are pondering their pace options for the crucial fourth Test against India at the Kia Oval, which begins Thursday.
Sam Curran could be eliminated from the team that won the third Test with Chris Woakes and Mark Wood competing after returning from injuries.
Moeen Ali has been named Vice-Captain of England, Jos Buttler is missing when his second child is born.
The series is balanced 1: 1 with two games to be played.
In Buttler’s absence, Jonny Bairstow will keep the wicket for England, with Ollie Pope coming in the middle tier.
India have added pace bowler Prasidh Krishna to their roster, while they may also choose off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin for the first time on the series.
After the first Test was drawn, India won a thrilling second Test in the final hour of the final day at Lord’s, only for England to hit back with a forceful one innings and 76 runs at Headingley.
“We’re really good at coming back from behind,” said Moeen. “Now we have to deliver the performance that brings us forward.
“We’re confident we can do it. If we can do something like Headingley again, we’re sure we have a good chance.”
Moeen, 34, was only called back to the English side for the second test, but Skipper Joe Root said he was “absolutely the right man” to be promoted to Vice-Captain.
“Mo is a natural leader, someone the team is drawn to,” said Root.
“He has a brilliant cricket brain, he’s wonderful at home cricket. I’m really happy for him.”
Surrey’s left-arm sailor Curran has only won three wickets in the three games in the series and is therefore prone to missing his home ground.
With Stuart Broad out with a calf injury, Ollie Robinson has established himself as James Anderson’s new ball partner and both will play unless England opts for rest and rotation.
Craig Overton, who played his first Test in two years at Headingley, impressed by taking six wickets in the match.
Wood, 31, missed the third test with a shoulder injury sustained while fielding with Lord. Though he’s fit to bowl at The Oval, throwing could be a problem.
Woakes, 32, has not played a test in over a year because he was rested, injured and isolated at some point after being viewed as a close contact by Moeen, who contracted Covid in January.
Despite recovering from a heel injury, Woakes has only played a three-day second XI game and T20 for Warwickshire since early July.
Indian sailor Ishant Sharma struggled at Headingley, but bowling coach Bharat Arun said Krishna’s inclusion in his roster was just a “caution”.
The tourists put four pace bowlers at the forefront of their XI in each of the first three tests, with Ravindra Jadeja as the only crank.
When asked if they could include Ashwin, who has 413 test wickets, Arun said, “The story at The Oval says it’s going to spin.
“That depends on the conditions. Ashwin is without a doubt one of the best bowlers we have. It’s unfortunate that he hasn’t played before.”