England announced their squad for the third Test in their best-of-five series against India on Tuesday, as the Three Lions go looking for their first win.
Wicketkeeper batsman Jos Buttler will be making his debut at Test level after a great deal of success in T20 matches, after Matt Prior pulled out of the squad following an injury-plagued season.
The full squad, courtesy of England Cricket:
National selector James Whitaker spoke about the selection of the 23-year-old and the performances of the team during the first two Test matches against India in a statement released on the federation's official website:
The result of the second Investec Test at Lord’s was very disappointing. One or two of our players had encouraging performances however it is vital that the squad learns quickly and arrives in Southampton this week refreshed and ready to perform well in what will no doubt be another tough Test match.
Congratulations to Jos Buttler who comes into the squad following some very exciting limited overs performances for England and a good record with Lancashire this season and fully deserves this opportunity.
Matt Prior has contributed a huge amount to the England side over the years and should be proud of his record throughout his 79 Tests. He has decided to take time out of the game to work on his fitness and we will continue to follow his progress over the coming months.
Buttler is the only change from the squad that lost the second Test at Lord's, meaning Alastair Cook will retain his captaincy. Cook has struggled badly on the pitch and has faced criticism for some of his decisions, leading the team to seven losses in their last nine Tests.
India's win at Lord's was their first there in 28 years and ended an overseas win drought that started in 2011. Ishant Sharma put up a bowling clinic, and the final result was never really in doubt.
The Daily Telegraph's Geoffrey Boycott had seen enough after England's 95-run defeat, calling for the end of Cook's tenure as captain:
The selectors and the managing director, Paul Downton, gave Cook their full backing at the beginning of the summer. But it is obvious to most ex-players that he cannot cut it. Tactically he has not got it and the team are playing poor cricket.
It is important that the selectors do not become stubborn and stick with Plan A in an effort to avoid embarrassment. We all make mistakes and there is no shame in admitting they got this wrong.
Former England football captain Gary Lineker still has issues with the ECB's decision to keep blocking Kevin Pietersen, meanwhile:
When @ECB_cricket make seemingly ludicrous decisions like expelling their best player, it needs to be followed by success! Live by the sword— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) July 21, 2014
India made history at Lord's, but with three Tests still to play in this series, Cook and his teammates will have a chance to build some momentum and turn things around.
A strong performance is needed in Southampton, with pessimism reigning among the fans and the English squad in general. The home series against Sri Lanka was a disaster (a draw and a defeat), and Cook simply can't afford a similar outcome against India.