Jos Buttler said England have their "fingers crossed" that the fifth Test against India will go ahead at Old Trafford after the tourists were hit by a new COVID-19 case.

A member of India's support staff, reported by the Times of India to be a junior physio, has tested positive for coronavirus, and the team did not appear for a net session or hold a news conference on Thursday.

On the eve of the match, the last in a series in which India hold a 2-1 lead, it remained to be seen whether there could be an issue with it going ahead as scheduled.

India do not want to concede the match, yet this is the latest case in their camp, after head coach Ravi Shastri and two members of his staff also tested positive and were sidelined during the fourth Test at The Oval.

England wicketkeeper-batsman Buttler said: "At present we're fully expecting the game to go ahead. We're preparing to play tomorrow and fingers crossed the game will go ahead.

"Things are all fine in our camp and we trained well this morning so, hopefully, we're looking forward to the game tomorrow."

The Oval defeat for England came as India carved through the hosts' batting line-up on the final day, reducing them from 100-0 to 210 all out, earning a 157-run success.

"It was a fantastic Test match for the neutrals," said Buttler, who missed the game as his wife gave birth. "The team played some brilliant cricket for large parts of that game but couldn't quite get it done.

"As a group we're determined to win this Test match and level this series. Spirits are high and so it's one last big push this summer for a must-win game for us."

England have a proud Old Trafford record against India to defend, having never lost in the nine matches the teams have contested at the ground. England have four wins and five draws in their head-to-head, winning by an innings and 54 runs when the teams last played in Manchester, in August 2014.

An Old Trafford draw in 1990 featured the first Test century of Sachin Tendulkar's stellar career, the then 17-year-old making 119 not out in the fourth innings of the contest.

 

BUTTLER SEES ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT

Buttler made a Test ton against India at Trent Bridge three years ago, and a return to that level of form would be welcome after a run of low scores, with 25 his highest across five Test innings in this series.

"I haven't played my best by a long stretch," Buttler said. "I think I've felt like that the whole season. It's on yourself as a player to put the work in, to train hard and make some runs.

"I've been working hard on that and that's the challenge of the game: can you do the work to give yourself the best chance to perform in the middle?"

For the Lancashire player, home advantage may help in the coming days.

ANDERSON COULD TAKE CENTRE STAGE

Another player relishing the chance to shine at his county ground will be James Anderson, England's evergreen paceman.

The 39-year-old has 15 wickets at an average of 24.66 so far in this series, and Buttler is confident Anderson and fellow quick Ollie Robinson will be raring to go after a heavy Oval workload.

"They've bowled a lot of overs and bowled fantastically well," said Buttler. "They've rightfully taken rest in the few days since the last game.

"But they seem to be pulling up well. Jimmy is a fantastically fit guy who looks after himself and Ollie's exactly the same. Fingers crossed they'll both be in good shape and available for selection."

Robinson has a series-high 21 wickets at 21.33, and his contribution could be important as England target a fourth straight win in Tests at Old Trafford. 

The last and only time they enjoyed a longer winning run at the venue was a four-match span from July 2006 to June 2010. England have not lost consecutive home Tests against India since June 1986, which was the first time that had occurred.

KEY OPTA FACTS

– India last won a Test series against England, in England, in 2007. To deny them, England will be chasing a win that would be their 50th in men's Tests against India. They have passed that landmark against three other Test teams previously: 110 wins against Australia, 64 against South Africa and 51 against West Indies.

– England have not lost back-to-back men's home Tests since July 2008, when South Africa were the opposition.

– India captain Virat Kohli is 40 away from becoming the fifth player to score 2,000 runs in men's Tests between England and India (Tendulkar – 2,535, Sunil Gavaskar – 2,483, Alastair Cook – 2,431 and Joe Root – 2,353); however, Kohli's Test batting average (43.6) against England is his second lowest against any country (43.3 v West Indies).

– England skipper Root (1,455 in 2021) is 27 away from recording the most runs in men's Tests by an England player in a calendar year (Michael Vaughan – 1,481 in 2002).

Wicketkeeper Jos Buttler has returned to England's squad for the fifth and final Test against India, which starts at Old Trafford on Friday.

Buttler missed the fourth Test, a 157-run loss to India at The Oval, to be present at the birth of his second child.

Jonny Bairstow took over wicketkeeping duties in Buttler's absence as England went 2-1 down in the five-match series.

Sam Billings, who was included in the squad for the fourth Test squad as cover for Bairstow, has now returned to Kent.

Left-arm spinner Jack Leach is also named in the 16-man party for the match.

He was in England's squad for the first two Tests against India but not selected, and has not featured in a Test match since March.

Leach would give England captain Joe Root another spin option alongside Moeen Ali.

Fast bowler Mark Wood, who has returned from a shoulder injury, and left-arm seamer Sam Curran, dropped for the fourth Test, are both available.

England coach Chris Silverwood acknowledged that, with James Anderson and Ollie Robinson having toiled at The Oval, he may need to freshen up a fatigued attack.

"We have got some aching bodies, I'm not going to deny that," Silverwood said.

"So we obviously have to keep an eye on that. He [Wood] could come back and if he does, he will obviously add that pace for us.

"If the pitch is abrasive as it usually is at Old Trafford there should be reverse swing."

Lancashire seamer Anderson, England's record wicket-taker, would be loathe to miss out on playing at his home ground.

Silverwood acknowledged that with a short turnaround between Tests he will need to have a discussion with the 39-year-old over his fitness. 

"James knows his own body. He will certainly give me an honest opinion of where he is at, and it's certainly something I will listen to," Silverwood explained.

"It'll be a discussion that he and I will have together. He will have input into that, without a shadow of a doubt.

"I know what it's like, he won't want to miss any cricket. We have to make sure we look after him.

"Although there is a gap between the final Test and what's in front of him, he's certainly someone I want to make sure is looked after."

England squad for the fifth Test against India at Old Trafford:  Joe Root (captain), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Haseeb Hameed, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Dawid Malan, Craig Overton, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.

England will change a winning team for the fourth Test against India, with Jonny Bairstow taking over wicketkeeping duties from the absent Jos Buttler.

Buttler is skipping the Oval clash as he and his wife await the birth of their second child, meaning batsman Bairstow will take the gloves, and England have called in Sam Billings as cover.

It means at least one change will be made to the XI that beat India by an innings and 76 runs at Headingley to square the series, and it appears likely Ollie Pope will be the beneficiary, coming in to fortify the middle order in a match that gets under way on Thursday.

Chris Woakes is another option for head coach Chris Silverwood, who has recalled the Warwickshire all-rounder after he recovered from a heel injury.

Paceman Mark Wood also comes into contention, as he shows signs of recovering well from the shoulder injury that kept him out of the Headingley match, but Saqib Mahmood has been released to Lancashire duty.

Silverwood said: "It is very pleasing that we have Chris Woakes returning to the Test squad. He has bowled well over the past week with Warwickshire without any real concerns with his heel injury.

"He is an asset we have been missing both with the ball and his ability to score runs in the middle order. We are looking forward to seeing him prepare at The Oval as we go into back-to-back Tests.

"Mark Wood is making excellent recovery from his jarred right shoulder. He bowled in the middle on the last day at Headingley with our bowling coach Jon Lewis and was starting to get through his spells pain-free.

"For the first time in this series, it is pleasing to have several options with our bowling stocks as we approach the latter stages of the series.

"We would like to wish Jos and his family all the very best for the impending birth of their second child. Unfortunately, he will miss this Test, and we'll then see if he returns for the final Test at Emirates Old Trafford.

"Jonny Bairstow will take over wicketkeeping duties, which he is relishing. As we all know, he has the skills to seamlessly take over from Jos and the ability to score crucial runs in the middle order if called upon.

"Sam Billings, who was in the Test squad for the New Zealand series earlier this summer, returns as reserve keeper. He understands how we want to approach our cricket and is a popular member of the group. He will fit in well with the rest of the group."

The absence of Buttler means England lose their vice-captain, and his replacement in that role has not yet been specified.

 

England squad for the fourth Test against India at The Oval: Joe Root (captain), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Sam Billings, Rory Burns, Sam Curran, Haseeb Hameed, Dan Lawrence, Dawid Malan, Craig Overton, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.

England took complete control of their third Test with India after bowling out their opponents for just 78 on day one at Headingley and replying with 120-0.

The tourists, leading 1-0 in the series and seeking back-to-back Test wins in England for just a second time, were wiped out in just over 40 overs after electing to bat first.

Virat Kohli's side surrendered their last six wickets for 30 and England made a more-that-steady start to their reply by the end of play on Wednesday thanks to Rory Burns and Haseeb Hameed.

Star man James Anderson got England off to a flier as he picked up three wickets for the loss of six runs in his opening spell of eight overs, dismissing KL Rahul (0), Cheteshwar Pujara (1) and Kohli (7) in quick succession.

India were in trouble at 21-3 and, while they were given temporary respite by Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane, the latter was soon sent packing by Ollie Robinson for 18. 

Robinson picked up from where he left off after lunch with the wicket of Rishabh Pant, who edged straight into the hands of Jos Buttler for just two runs.

That was Buttler's fifth catch and England were not finished there as Craig Overton, in for Mark Wood, got Sharma – India's top scorer with 19 runs – caught trying an awkward pull shot.

Mohammed Shami was then caught at third slip by Rory Burns for a golden duck, before Sam Curran got Ravi Jadeja (4) and Jasprit Bumrah (0) both out lbw.

Mohammed Siraj (3) was the last to fall for a shocked India, the ball coming off his bat and landing in the hands of Joe Root at slip, leaving India with their ninth-lowest total in Test history.

England had the chance to get some runs on the board before the end of play and their batters steadily backed up their bowlers' hard work.

Burns and Hameed produced an unbroken century stand for the first wicket to give England a lead of 42.

Burns reached 52 by the close of play – his 10th Test half-century – and partner Hameed will resume at 60 not out on Thursday as England look to close in on an emphatic victory to level the series.

 

Headingley horror for India

India posted their third-lowest total against England with 78 runs and their lowest since 1974 when skittled for 42 at Lord's.

It was India's third-lowest score ever after electing to bat first, meanwhile, behind the 76 they managed against South Africa in 2008 and 75 against the West Indies in 1987.

England were rampant and Anderson in particular was in inspired form, setting the tone early on. Buttler also deserves special praise as he took five catches in an innings for a second time, previously doing so against the West Indies in 2015.

Hameed steps up on return to top two

Burns and Hameed refused to be budged as England became only the third side in Test history to bowl out the opposition and end day one in the lead with both openers still in play.

That is the 22nd new opening partnership used by England in the past nine years, with Hameed opening the batting in Test cricket for the first time since 2016 after jumping the order following Dawid Malan's recall.

Both men faced more than 100 balls but looked comfortable for large parts, with England's opening partnership registering a century at home for only the third time in five years.

Jos Buttler will not be joining up with Rajasthan Royals to complete the 2021 Indian Premier League season in the United Arab Emirates.

This year's tournament was suspended indefinitely back on May 4 amid a rise in COVID-19 cases within the bio-secure bubbles set up for the teams in India.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India have since announced the final 31 games will be staged in Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi instead, starting with Chennai Super Kings against Mumbai Indians on September 19.

While the Royals sit just outside the top four ahead of the resumption overseas, they have been dealt a blow following confirmation Buttler will miss the rest of the campaign.

The England wicketkeeper-batsman is expecting a second child with his partner and will not be part of the Rajasthan squad, as confirmed by the team on social media on Saturday.

New Zealander Glenn Phillips has been signed as a replacement for Buttler, who scored 254 runs an at an average of 36.28 in his seven appearances earlier this year, including making 124 – his maiden T20 hundred – against Sunrisers Hyderabad.

Buttler is currently part of England's Test squad taking on India in a five-match series on home soil, which will be followed by a busy winter schedule.

The rearranged T20 World Cup takes place in October and November, while the following month sees the start of the Ashes series in Australia.

England's three-pronged spin attack proved to be the difference as the hosts squared the T20I series against Pakistan at Headingley with a 45-run win.

Jos Buttler returned to skipper England as captain Eoin Morgan sat out and he top scored with a stunning 59 from 39 deliveries at the top of the order.

Moeen Ali (36) and Liam Livingstone (38) supplied explosive middle-order contributions, but England lost wickets frequently and there was a suspicion their 200 all out in 19.5 was a touch shy of what was required in perfect batting conditions in a sweltering Leeds.

But a Pakistan batting line-up that posted 232-6 in a 31-run win at Trent Bridge on Friday were effectively shackled by leg-spinners Adil Rashid (2-30) and Matt Parkinson (1-25) and Moeen's off-spin (2-32), with paceman Saqib Mahmood the pick of the attack thanks to 3-33 that began with the vital wicket of visiting captain Babar Azam (22).

Jason Roy set the tone for England's innings with a huge six and a four off slow left-armer Imad Wasim (2-37) before holing out within the first over.

Dawid Malan scratched around for one off five deliveries – top-edging a sweep off Imad to be caught by Azam Khan – although there were no such problems for Moeen in his blistering 16-ball stay, nor Livingstone, who followed up his incredible century in Nottingham by bludgeoning two fours and three sixes. One of those remarkably cleared the grandstand at the Football Ground End.

Buttler was in typically sublime touch through extra cover and only fell to Mohammad Hasnain (3-51) with a thunderous hit straight to Babar at mid-off.

Jonny Bairstow, Tom Curran and Chris Jordan came and went without being able to produce anything of similar substance and the sense England had been slightly wasteful was heightened as Babar and Mohammad Rizwan (37) added 50 for the first wicket.

Babar skewed a cross-seam delivery from Mahmood to a diving Malan and, as Rashid and Parkinson got into their work, Pakistan were unable to regain their momentum.

A fine return catch from Rashid accounted for Rizwan, while Moeen had Mohammad Hafeez caught behind for 10 and bowled Fakhar Zaman with a beauty to scoop the player of the match award.

Jos Buttler has been ruled out of the remainder of England's white-ball encounters with Sri Lanka by a calf injury.

Buttler was named man of the match in the first Twenty20 International of the series after scoring a blistering unbeaten 68 not out in a crushing eight-wicket win on Wednesday.

The wicketkeeper-batsman damaged his right calf during that match at Sophia Gardens and missed a series-clinching five-wicket victory at the same venue on Thursday.

Buttler underwent an MRI scan on Thursday morning that revealed a small tear, which will keep him out of the final T20 at the Ageas Bowl on Saturday and all three ODIs.

The 30-year-old will return home to commence a rehabilitation programme on Friday, with Jonny Bairstow expected to keep the gloves in Southampton.

Dawid Malan, the top-ranked T20 batsman in the world, has been added to the ODI squad following Buttler's withdrawal.

England maintained their 100 per cent record in Twenty20 games played at Sophia Gardens thanks to a resounding eight-wicket win over Sri Lanka in their series opener.

Jos Buttler made 68 not out as England made it seven wins from seven at the venue in Cardiff, this latest triumph sealed with 17 balls to spare as they easily overhauled Sri Lanka's below-par 129-7.

Jason Roy gave the chase a fast start with 36 from 22 deliveries in an 80-run opening stand with Buttler, who hit eight fours and a six during his 55-ball knock.

Wanindu Hasaranga did excel with the ball for the tourists, giving up just 12 runs in his four-over spell, while Isuru Udana bowled Dawid Malan for seven off 14 balls. Jonny Bairstow finished up unbeaten on 13.

Sri Lanka had earlier been indebted to a half-century from Dasun Shanaka, his second at international level in the format, having opted to bat first after winning the toss.

Danushka Gunathilaka made 19 at the top of the order and captain Kusal Perera contributed 30, but the tourists struggled for momentum as they slipped to 79-5 at the start of the 14th over.

Adil Rashid claimed 2-17 in four economical overs, while there was a wicket for Liam Livingstone too. Shanaka made sure Sri Lanka at least finished strongly, hitting three fours and a pair of sixes as 25 came from the final two overs, but their total was no problem for England's powerful batting line-up.


Opening role just perfect for Buttler

Buttler has made clear his desire to continue opening in T20 action for England - and the numbers support his case. This was his ninth half-century in 20 innings at the top of the order, with the milestone arriving from 38 balls with a pulled four to the square leg boundary.

Tourists toil again in format

Sri Lanka have lost 10 of their previous 11 completed T20 matches, a worrying run of form with a World Cup to come later in the year. They do not have to wait long for an opportunity to draw level in this series at least, as the teams meet again at the same venue on Thursday.

Eight of England's 11 players involved in the Indian Premier League have returned home following the indefinite suspension of the tournament.

The decision to call a halt to this year's competition was taken on Tuesday amid the worsening COVID-19 pandemic in India.

After two cases were confirmed among the Kolkata Knight Riders, Monday's game against Royal Challengers Bangalore was postponed. A Sunrisers Hyderabad player then also tested positive ahead of their fixture with Mumbai Indians.

Focus is now on seeing participants leave the country safely, with fears players would need to self-isolate in India and also return a negative coronavirus test before attempting to get a flight.

However, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Sam Billings, Chris Woakes, Moeen Ali and Jason Roy all boarded a flight that landed at Heathrow on Wednesday.

They will have to quarantine in government-approved hotels for the next 10 days.

The remaining three England players who were on duty - Eoin Morgan, Dawid Malan and Chris Jordan - are expected to leave India within the next 48 hours.

Meanwhile, Cricket Australia boss Nick Hockley has confirmed the contingent of Australian IPL players will be moved to the Maldives or Sri Lanka in the coming days.

The Australian government has blocked citizens returning home within 14 days of being in India, meaning they will first have to isolate elsewhere.

Jos Buttler smashed a majestic century as Rajasthan Royals compounded Sunrisers Hyderabad's Indian Premier League misery with a dominant 55-run victory.

The Sunrisers, bottom of the standings with six defeats from seven, made the dramatic decision to strip David Warner of their captaincy on Saturday and there was no place in their XI for the deposed Australia opener.

Buttler proceeded to provide the sort of fireworks at the top of the order that are seemingly beyond Warner at present, plundering a maiden T20 ton in style as he smashed 124 from 64 deliveries, with 11 fours and eight sixes, to account for the bulk of an imposing 220-3.

Despite the promise of first-wicket stand of 57 between Manish Pandey (31) and Jonny Bairstow (30), Hyderabad's chase never really threatened and they limped to 165-8 – left-arm seamer Mustafizur Rahman (3-20) the pick of the Rajasthan attack.

Although he had twice come close with knocks of 49 and 41, Buttler entered the match without a half-century to his name in six previous attempts this season.

The England star was not initially at his fluent best, gutsing his way to a 39-ball fifty after surviving an lbw shout from Rashid Khan on seven, the leg-spinner dismissing Buttler's opening partner Yashasvi Jaiswal for 12 in similar fashion.

Supported by skipper Sanju Samson (48) in a 150-run stand for the second wicket, Buttler cut loose. The 15th over, Mohammad Nabi's sole contribution with the ball, disappeared for 21, and by the time Sandeep Sharma (1-50) forced him to drag on, Buttler had already walloped three sixes and a four from the penultimate over.

Pandey and Bairstow made light of Warner's axing, although Mustafizur bowled the former off his pads with a slower ball and the procession that followed Buttler's England colleague perishing at long-on off Rahul Tewatia (1-45) showed Hyderabad's problems are myriad.

New skipper Kane Williamson scored 20 off 21 deliveries and any lingering hope was gone when he became Kartik Tyagi's first IPL wicket.

Kedar Jadhav's run-a-ball 19 was the best any one else could muster and he was bowled to be one of three victims for Chris Morris (3-29).

Patience pays off for Buttler

It seems unusual to flag up how a batsman who flayed the opposition to all parts actually played within himself initially, but Buttler shrewdly recognised his way out of a relative slump. "I think sometimes you have to swallow your ego when you're not in perfect touch," he said when receiving the man-of-the-match award.

"You have to give yourself time and find your way. I tried to stay in and keep the belief that something will click." As the final 25 deliveries Buttler faced disappeared for 74, it was fair to say something exploded.

A new role for Rashid

Khan was into the attack early for Hyderabad, Williamson breaking from Warner's habit of using the spinner in the middle overs. The skipper was partially vindicated by the early wicket and it would have been a very different contest had Buttler not survived.

However, Khan's allocation being used by the 11th over arguably left the Sunrisers exposed to one of the most destructive batsman on the planet and lacking the means to check his charge.

Chennai Super Kings made it 12 wins in the past 15 Indian Premier League meetings with Rajasthan Royals as they eased to a 45-run triumph on Monday.

Moeen Ali contributed with both bat and ball as the Super Kings proved far too strong for their opponents at the Wankhede Stadium.

The Royals had prevailed in four of their previous five games at the Mumbai ground - including last time out against Delhi Capitals in a thriller - but fell away badly in reply to Chennai's total of 188-9.

Jos Buttler provided the only innings of note from the top order in the run chase, making 49 from 35 deliveries with five fours and a pair of sixes.

Rajasthan were in contention at 87-2 in their reply, but Buttler's departure - bowled by Ravindra Jadeja - sparked a collapse that saw five wickets fall for eight runs. They finished up on 143-9.

Jadeja finished with 2-28 but fellow spinner Moeen was the pick of the attack, the England all-rounder taking 3-7 from his three overs having earlier made 26 in Chennai's innings.

Faf du Plessis top-scored with 33 as all the top five reached double figures, while the Super Kings demonstrated their strength in depth when Dwayne Bravo made 20 not out from number nine in the order.


Royals run into trouble

Despite a miserable overall record, Rajasthan had won back-to-back matches against Chennai. However, they were unable to equal their longest winning run against them.

Buttler did his best but there was little support from the rest of the top order, the Super Kings' spinners emphatically turning the game in their favour.

All-round balance helps Chennai

Moeen Ali is the only player to reach three figures for runs and also claim a wicket so far in the 2021 IPL season.

His signing by the Super Kings in the auction appears an astute piece of business, particularly as the left-handed batsman has capitalised on his opportunities to bat up the order.

Jos Buttler feels England's tour of India served the team well despite series defeats in the Tests, Twenty20 Internationals and ODIs.

England won the Test opener but went down 3-1 over four matches, while they twice led a five-match T20 series before a 3-2 loss.

The tourists were always chasing in the ODIs, both across the series – after India's opening win – and in all three matches, as they bowled first on each occasion.

Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes led a superb victory in the second ODI, but Sunday's decider saw India edge to a seven-run victory despite the best efforts of Sam Curran, who equalled the highest score for a batsman coming in at eight in an ODI with an unbeaten 95.

Defeat meant England have still only won one multi-game bilateral ODI series in India, losing the past six in a row.

The world champions have also been beaten in back-to-back series for the first time since a run of three in 2014 (two against Sri Lanka and one versus India).

But stand-in captain Buttler, who was defeated for just the third time as skipper in ODIs, maintained a positive outlook going forward.

"We've been a brilliant side for a long period of time now," he said. "I think we lost those two series [the T20s and ODIs], but that's two losses in our last 11 series.

"So, we're still a very good side, expanding that talent pool. There's been a few guys obviously missing from this side and guys coming in to have opportunities, which is fantastic.

"And that's been a big part of us getting better and better as a side. We never want to put limitations on what we're capable of. We'll continue to try to push the boundaries and strive to do that.

"And I think the exposure of players coming in and continuing to play in that fashion that we expect is great.

"Expanding that talent pool and pushing each other from within and building the strength in the squad, and the competition for places in the XI, is only going to continue to improve our side.

"So of course, it's again a long cycle looking ahead to a World Cup, but we always want to learn, and you want to win at the same time. We're of course disappointed when we don't do that.

"But of course, there are big pictures moving forward and we'll continue to be a very good side.

"There's more and more experience in guys, a lot of guys, in and around 100 caps as well. So, the experience in the squad is huge, and the exposure for other guys coming in is vital as well.

"I think we're in a really good place as a side."

England have a packed schedule this year before heading back to India in October for the World Twenty20, a tournament in which they were beaten in the final in dramatic fashion five years ago.

Buttler added: "We came here wanting to win. We play the game to win matches and to win series.

"And in the must-win games at the end of these T20 or one-dayers, we haven't quite managed to do that. So of course, we were disappointed with that.

"But there'll be some great learnings taken from the tour, some great exposure to players playing in this part of the world for the first time.

"I think once again expanding the talent pool available to us in one-day cricket, building ahead to the T20 World Cup in a few months' time and of course the 2023 World Cup later on down the line here as well.

"So, any time we expand that player pool, that creates competition, that creates better performance and that's the upward trajectory that we're always after as a side, that continuous improvement."

England confirmed Jofra Archer will undergo hand surgery while he recovers from an elbow injury, as his team-mates prepared for an ODI decider against India.

Archer was ruled out of the ODI series due to a worsening elbow issue and travelled home to the United Kingdom.

The fast bowler has since had a scan and a consultant review, which has prompted the decision to have a procedure on his right hand, while he has also had a further injection for his right elbow.

"The procedure on Jofra's hand will take place on Monday 29 March so he can recover during the planned break following his elbow injection," a statement from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) read on Saturday.

"Jofra suffered a cut to his hand while cleaning at his home in January shortly before flying to India to prepare for the Test series.

"The injury was managed by the ECB's medical team through the tour and it did not impact on his availability.

"Further investigation and a specialist opinion was sought upon his return to the UK and, in conjunction with the ECB medical panel, it has been decided that surgery is the best option to manage his injury in the longer term."

As well as dealing with Archer's absence, England have been without captain Eoin Morgan since the first ODI after sustaining his own hand injury.

But stand-in skipper Jos Buttler was still waiting on news of the fitness of Sam Billings, who missed the second ODI with a bruised collarbone, and Mark Wood, who was rested.

England lost their four-match Test series against India 3-1 and were then beaten in a Twenty20 International decider to go down 3-2.

Tied at 1-1 ahead of the third and final ODI, Buttler is hoping for better luck as he targets a third successive win as captain for the first time. He has five victories from seven matches so far.

"We want to win all the games we play," he said. "It's great to be in another final, as such. Obviously the T20s went to a decider and this series will do the same.

"They're great games to be involved in, we're all very much looking forward to it. It was an excellent performance [on Friday], so we take lots of confidence into the game on Sunday."

Friday saw England claim a six-wicket win thanks to a superb chase led by Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes.

Bairstow (124), who has now hit an England record 26 sixes against India, had 100-run stands with both fellow opener Jason Roy and Stokes, as the tourists had two century partnerships in the same ODI for the first time since the 2019 Cricket World Cup.

Bairstow and Roy reached the hundred mark for the 13th time in ODIs, the most ever recorded by an England duo, while they have the highest average (61.6) of any opening partnership in the history of the format (20-plus innings).

Led by the pair, England have outscored India 148 to 80 in the powerplays in this series.

"They're right up there, aren't they? Everyone will have their opinions on who's the best, but those two have been fantastic," Buttler said.

"The way they play, the pressure their put on an opposition, and the consistency... the way they do that, the fashion they play, it's quite remarkable really.

"They've created some fantastic stands. I don't know the exact numbers, but I know they're pretty impressive. We're all delighted to have them at the top of the order.

"People talk about the numbers a lot of the time, but for us it's more about the fashion we play in, committing to that and the numbers will always look after themselves."

Stokes certainly plays in the same fashion, his rapid innings seeing 50 runs off the first 40 balls and 49 off the next 11.

Asked how the display ranked among the white-ball efforts of an all-rounder who has averaged 56.4 in ODIs since the start of 2017, Buttler had a cheery response.

"It was certainly pretty impressive, wasn't it? He's had a few," the captain said. "His World Cup final one was pretty good. I enjoyed that one."

England captain Eoin Morgan has been ruled out of the remainder of the ODI series against India due to injury. 

Morgan required four stitches in his right hand after the batsman split the webbing between his thumb and index finger in an opening match that was won by India on Tuesday. 

England's white-ball captain took part in a fielding drill at the MCA Stadium on Thursday but declared himself unfit to feature in the two remaining contests in Pune. 

Jos Buttler will lead the team in the absence of Morgan, while Liam Livingstone is to make his ODI debut in the second match of the series on Friday. 

Morgan said: "I had the hand re-dressed before the start of training today [Thursday] but it quickly became apparent that I found myself protecting the injury and getting into the wrong positions to catch the ball. 

"There's nowhere to hide on the field in international cricket these days, especially in limited-over formats so it didn't require any great thought to make myself unavailable. 

"It was a freak injury and it's extremely frustrating but there's nothing I can do about it. It's now just a case of letting the cut heal. I have every confidence in Jos and the rest of the squad coping without me." 

Sam Billings will not feature in the second ODI and the batsman will be checked again ahead of the final encounter on Sunday, having bruised his left collarbone in a 66-run defeat on Tuesday. 

Dawid Malan, already in the touring party as cover, has been added to the squad.

India clinched a 3-2 Twenty20 series victory over England after coming out on top in a high-scoring decider at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.

The hosts triumphed by 36 runs as they prevailed for a second successive outing after being put into bat by visiting skipper Eoin Morgan, with the previous encounters all won by the team chasing.

Captain Virat Kohli – shifted up to open – led the way with 80 not out as India amassed 224-2, their fourth highest total in the shortest format.

Jos Buttler and Dawid Malan both made half-centuries as England raced out of the blocks in reply, yet their chase ran out of steam. Unable to hit boundaries regularly when it mattered, they finished up on 188-8.

India had also made a fast start when they batted thanks mainly to Rohit Sharma. He dominated an opening partnership worth 94, belatedly making a major contribution in the series with 64 from just 34 deliveries.

Ben Stokes finally ended the initial onslaught thanks to an inside edge onto the stumps, though there was little respite for England's bowlers as the runs continued to flow.

Suryakumar Yadav (32) wasted little time in going on the attack, hitting the second and third deliveries he faced during an Adil Rashid over for six, though the leg-spinner would later dismiss the right-hander thanks to a stunning catch in the deep.

Jason Roy ended up holding the ball, though his role was a minor one. Chris Jordan had taken a superb one-handed effort on the run from long-on, then passed it on to his waiting team-mate before stepping over the boundary.

Still, Hardik Pandya capitalised on his promotion up to four with 39 not out, combining with Kohli to add 81. Mark Wood and Chris Jordan both registered unwanted half-centuries with the ball, while Jofra Archer finished with 0-43 from his four overs.

England lost Jason Roy for a duck in the first over, yet Buttler and Malan made 52 and 68 respectively to keep the game firmly in the balance.

However, amid the run-scoring carnage, Bhuvneshwar Kumar claimed 2-15, including the crucial wicket of Buttler. The seam bowler's economical four overs helped put the brakes on England, who were 104-1 at the halfway stage before slipping off the pace.

World Cup on the horizon

The top two-ranked nations in T20 cricket did not disappoint in a series that offered the opportunity to explore options ahead of the World Cup on Indian soil later this year.

Kohli finished up averaging 115.5, yet new faces Yadav and Ishan Kishan also caught the eye for India with the bat. Similarly, Malan – who became the fastest player to 1,000 international runs in the format – showed in the finale how he can change his approach, depending on the match situation.

Jordan goes the distance

Not for the first time in his career, Jordan produced a sensational catch, this time to see off Yadav. However, while a fantastic asset in the field, he has struggled to have an impact with the ball in the five games.

Between overs 17-20, Jordan has been hit for eight sixes in the series. That is five more than the rest of the England attack combined, while an economy rate of 13.5 in that period will be a concern for captain Morgan.

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