England’s Jonny Bairstow looks set to win his fitness battle for the fourth Test but will be targeted by the India bowlers. The 28-year-old broke a finger keeping wicket in the third Test defeat at Trent Bridge and looked doubtful for this week’s Ageas Bowl encounter.
However, his injury has reacted better than he thought it would and it seems the Yorkshireman will play as a specialist batsman, with Jos Buttler keeping wicket.
“The finger feels good,” he said on Tuesday. “The swelling’s gone down and it’s a lot better than I thought it was going to be. I’m confident that I’ll be able to do some things because I can grip now. I can grip bags and that’s a good sign, I think.”
If the hard-hitting right-hander does get the nod he can expect some rough treatment from the opposition fast bowlers, as Mohammed Shami explained.
“When you see that a batsman has a weakness and he feels uncomfortable in some way, you’d prefer to work on that aspect,” he said. “It’s not just me, any fast bowler will want to target his weak zone. So we will definitely look at that.”