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Kohli to the fore, India look to turn the tide 

Southampton, August 29

After a morale-boosting win at Nottingham, India will be aiming to level the five-match rubber when they take on England in the fourth Test starting at the Ageas Bowl Ground from Thursday.

After a narrow 31-run loss in the first Test in Birmingham, the visitors suffered an innings defeat at Lord’s in London were on the verge of losing the series. However, the Virat Kohli-led team bounced back in the third Test to register an emphatic 203-run victory, keeping the series alive. Kohli’s team still trails 1-2 in the series and will be aiming to replicate its third Test performance to level the series before going to the decider. 

The Indian skipper is most likely to stick with the winning combination. In the bowling department, the visitors would in all likelihood opt for three pacers, keeping in mind the green-top laid out for the fourth Test. The trio of Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami picked up a total of 13 wickets in the third Test, with Bumrah’s fifer ripping through the English batting order in the second essay. Ravichandran Ashwin is expected to recover from his injury and is likely to be the lone specialist spinner in the team. 

Bairstow to play with fractured finger  

England have selected Jonny Bairstow to play as a specialist batsman in the fourth Test even though he fractured a finger while keeping wicket in the third-Test loss. England also recalled Sam Curran and Moeen Ali in the team announced on Wednesday. Jos Buttler will take over as wicketkeeper for the Test at the Ageas Bowl after Bairstow fractured the middle finger of his left hand last week. 

Kohli ‘hurt by commercial aspect’ taking over cricket

Virat Kohli has ruled out participating in the initial stages of the England and Wales Cricket Board’s new 100-ball format and says he is worried that commercial concerns are eroding the quality of the game. 

The ECB’s new eight-team tournament is set to begin in 2020 and sees each side facing 15 six-ball overs, culminating in a final 10 deliveries. Kohli already represents India in Tests, ODIs and T20Is and plays in the IPL and said he did not want to be “a testing sort of cricketer for any new format”. “Obviously for the people involved in the whole process and the set-up it will be really exciting but I cannot think of one more format, to be honest,” Kohli said. 

“I feel the commercial aspect is taking over the real quality of the cricket and that hurts me,” he added.

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