India Vs. England 5th Test: England Wins Toss & Elects To Bat

India hosts England in the fifth and final Test match of their bi-lateral series at Dharamsala’s HPCA Stadium. The match will be commencing on Thursday, 7 March 2024.

India has already secured a win in the five-match Test series with a 3-1 lead, following a 5-wicket victory in the previous Test at Ranchi. England will mainly be playing for pride as they attempt to pull the series back to 3-2.

Dharamsala is a friendlier venue to seam than most in India, so expect the teams to be loaded with pace options. The conditions are expected to be cold at 5000 ft altitude, very different from other stadiums in the series like Ranchi or Rajkot.

Both captains think the surface will be full of runs, but there are a few rough patches which could be useful for spinners as test wares on.

India will enter as obvious favourites, with a number of their players in top form. The emergence of Yashasvi Jaiswal as India’s newest batting star has been huge for the team after they lost Virat Kohli and K L Rahul for the series. Another high score from Jaiswal in the final test should secure his place in the side.

England on the other hand have had an up and down series. They will be happy that their new openers Zack Crawley and Ben Duckett have been very successful under trying conditions. Their middle order however has been very ordinary, with Joony Bairstow and Ben Stokes having forgettable innings with the bat.

Expect a load of runs to be scored in the first few days of the test, followed by a couple days of turn which could decide the winner.

England Playing XI

Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Ben Stokes(c), Jonny Bairstow, Ben Foakes(w), Tom Hartley, Shoaib Bashir, Mark Wood, James Anderson

Mark Wood replaces Ollie Pope in the eleven, bringing some much needed pace into the England bowling. Wood has had some success this series, picking up four wickets in the first innings of the last test. 

Bashir and Robinson both missed training on Wednesday with upset stomachs. Bashir was able to pull through but Robinson was forced to sit out. With Jack Leach going down injured and Rehan Ahmed returning home for personal reasons, the England side will be short-handed.

Jonny Bairstow is now the 17th player from England to reach the milestone of 100 Tests. The 34-year-old has scored a total of 5974 Test runs at an average of 36.42 and a strike-rate of 58.68. He has 12 centuries and 26 fifties. 

Unfortunately for England, Bairstow has had a bad time with the bat in the first four tests of the series. His high score is only 38 across all innings, a stat he’d like to change in the final test.

India Playing XI

Yashasvi Jaiswal, Rohit Sharma(c), Shubman Gill, Devdutt Padikkal, Ravindra Jadeja, Sarfaraz Khan, Dhruv Jurel(w), Ravichandran Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Siraj, Jasprit Bumrah.

Jasprit Bumrah, who was rested for the fourth Test, will be making his return to the team in Dharamsala. The unfortunate player to miss out is Akash Deep, who had a solid performance in Bumrah’s absence in the 4th test.

Devdutt Padikall makes his debut in place of Rajat Patidar, who injured himself during training. 

The batter from Karnataka has had a great domestic season so far, scoring multiple hundreds in the 2023 Vijay Hazare Trophy and the following Ranji Trophy. 

In his 31 First-Class matches so far in his career the 23-year-old has scored 2227 runs at an average of 44.54 including six centuries and 12 fifties.

Padikkal’s addition is the 5th debutant India has produced in this series. This is a record for the most number of debutants in a single series The players who made their Test debuts in the series are Rajat Patidar, Dhruv Jurel, Sarfaraz Khan, Akash Deep and Devdutt Padikkal.

In other news, it is the 100th Test match for Indian all-rounder Ravichandran Ashwin, a proud moment in a tremendous career. Ashwin has picked up 507 wickets in his 99 previous matches at an average of 23.91.