With England looking to make the series scoreline 4-1 in Alastair Cook’s, they’ve named an unchanged XI. But there’s yet more shuffling to their line-up.
After his promotion to No.3 in the order in the second innings at the Ageas Bowl, Moeen Ali looks set to continue at first drop. Whether that continues long-term is another question.
That allows Joe Root to come in in his preferred No.4 position and Jonny Bairstow, who re-takes the gloves after a finger injury had him in as a specialist batsman in Southampton, slots back in at No.5.
Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler also move down a place while the man of the moment, Sam Curran, continues at No.8. So far in his Test career, the 20-year-old Surrey all-rounder averages 45.16 with the bat and just 23 with the ball from four Tests.
Chris Woakes, who was left out due to an injury recurrence at the Ageas, does not reclaim his place, while Ollie Pope also remains sidelined.
Adil Rashid, whose bowling has been limited due first to the seam friendliness of the surfaces and then, in Southampton, due to the favourable position of the footholes for Moeen’s off-spin, retains his place for what is usually the most spin-friendly pitch of the summer.
It will be a fascinating finale to a gripping series. But with a further hole to fill following Cook’s farewell, for England’s captain and selectors the end of the series will be only the beginning of the intrigue.
England XI to play at The Oval
Jonny Bairstow (wk)