England vs India: Fifth Test preview- Can Kohli's Side make history?
Source: Getty images - Stu Forster

England have recalled wicketkeeper Jos Buttler and spinner Jack Leach to their squad as they look to salvage their series against India in the final game of the five-match contest at Old Trafford on Friday. 

After a stunning comeback win in the fourth Test at the Oval earlier this week Virat Kohli's team bring a 2-1 series lead with them to Manchester and are now on the brink of becoming the first Indian side to win a series in England for fourteen years. 

Joe Root's England, on the other hand, were left stunned after collapsing to a 157 run defeat at the Oval despite bowling the tourists out for just 191 in their first innings and will be desperate to avoid becoming the first English side to lose two home Test series in the same summer since 1986.

Both sides are expected to make a number of changes to their line-ups from the last Test as they prepare to face each final time at England's most notoriously spin friendly ground. 

  • Buttler and Leach return as England look to bounce back 

England's selectors have recalled experienced wicketkeeper batsman Buttler and left-arm spin bowler Leach to their squad with the Three Lions in desperate need of a positive result from the Test. 

Buttler, who played the first three games of the series, returns to the team after missing the Oval Test in order to be present for the birth of his daughter, with England captain Root confirming this week that the Lancashire-man would indeed be back in the hosts starting line-up on Friday. 

The 31-year-old's return does, though, create a selection headache regarding the home teams batting order with it seeming likely that one of Jonny Bairstow or Ollie Pope will miss out in order to accommodate Buttler. 

It is also still unclear however whether Leach, who has not played a home Test match since 2019, will also play as England still seem undecided on if they will choose a second spin bowling option to accompany Moeen Ali

Root may also have a decision to make in the fast bowling department, as it is possible that veteran fast-bowler James Anderson, 39, may be rested after playing all four of the Tests so far in the series with pace-man Mark Wood looking likely to return after sustaining a shoulder injury during the third Test. 

England predicted XI: Burns, Hameed, Malan, Root (C), Pope, Buttler (WK), Ali, Woakes, Robinson, Leach, Wood

  • Ashwin return on the cards as India hope for easy wrap up of series 

One of the biggest stories to have emerged throughout this series has without doubt been the non-selection by India of the worlds number two ranked Test bowler Ravichandran Ashwin

The 34-year-old enjoyed huge success against England during the winter, taking 32 wickets at 14.72 in the reverse series in India and seemed nailed on to play a major part in this summer's contest but has yet to play in any of the four Tests so far. 

It does appear highly likely, however, that Ashwin will return to the side at Old Trafford with it being the English pitch that generally favours spin bowling the most, likely taking the place of either Shardul Thakur or Umesh Yadav

Mohammed Shami, who has taken 11 wickets so far in the series, is also back in contention to make a return after missing out of the last Test due to picking up a niggle giving captain Kohli an even bigger selection dilemma amongst the bowlers. 

India do, however, have larger concerns over the fitness of batsman Rohit Sharma and Chesteshwar Pujara

Opening batter Sharma is believed to have picked up a small knee injury during the last match and is still being monitored by the Indian medical staff, though, they are confident he will be fit enough to play in Manchester. 

Pujara, on the other hand, looks to be a bigger concern after sustaining and ankle injury while batting during the second innings at the Oval - Suryakumar Yadav or  Hanuma Vihari thought to be in contention to replace the if the 33-year-old is deemed not fit enough. 

Predicted India XI: Sharma, Rahul, Pujara, Kohli (C), Rahane, Pant (WK), Jadeja, Ashwin, Yadav, Bumrah, Siraj 

  • What the captains had to say

Joe Root: 

On the return of Jos Buttler: "I know his output in terms of runs in this series has not been as high as he would like, but he is the vice-captain of this team, he is a senior player and he is integral to what we are about.

“As players all we can focus on is this next game.

"We can keep having good honest conversations about what we are going to face when it comes around but we have to try and look after the here and now, and make sure we put in a really strong performance here at Old Trafford."

Virat Kohli: 

On his sides win at the Oval: "We've shown time and time again that we are a top side.

"That's because of the belief and the passion that we have in this group.

"A lot of people after Leeds really stood up and said, 'will India be able to come back?'

"This group of players, they just want to win, to win badly and find ways to win. That's a real hallmark of our side.