Brendon McCullum admitted it would be “slightly mad” if the progress Tom Hartley and Shoaib Bashir have made on England’s tour of India was stymied by a lack of opportunities at county level.

The spinning duo were uncapped at the start of the trip and held modest first-class records, albeit from small sample sizes, but Hartley is the series’ leading wicket-taker with 20 dismissals in four Tests and Bashir took a maiden professional five-for in Ranchi.

But Lancashire signing Australia star Nathan Lyon this summer places a question mark over how much game time Hartley will get and Bashir is second choice at Somerset to Jack Leach, who will have surgery on a knee injury which ended his tour early and allowed the rookies to shine on the international stage.

While McCullum acknowledged Lancashire and Somerset have their own interests to consider, England’s head coach hopes Hartley, 24, and Bashir, 20, will not fade away in the months ahead.

“We’ve got to keep trying to get cricket into them,” McCullum said. “Whatever opportunity we can we’ll try and give it to them because there’s two guys there more than good enough for international cricket.

“They’re tough characters. We’ve seen both of them have big hearts. It doesn’t get any harder than it is right now and they’ve both stood up and performed so we’ve just to keep giving both of them chances.

“It will be a slight frustration of ours if they weren’t given opportunities at county level. There’s a very real possibility that might be the case.

“But without wanting to dictate to counties because they have their own agendas, when you see performances like we have out of those two bowlers throughout the series, I think you’d be slightly mad if you didn’t give them more opportunities in county cricket.”

England losing by five wickets in Ranchi leaves them 3-1 down with just the final Test in Dharamshala, starting Thursday week, with McCullum suffering the first series defeat of his reign.

There have been just four wins in their last 11 Tests but McCullum is convinced England are a superior team than the one he inherited in May 2022, which had triumphed just once in their previous 17 matches.

“We weren’t quite good enough when it mattered – or India were better, to be honest, than us being not quite good enough,” McCullum said.

“We’ve lost this series and we didn’t win the Ashes (last year) but we’re a better cricket team than we were 18 months ago and we’ve got opportunity in the next 18 months to do some pretty special s***.

“Time on the tools, experience and just keep chiselling away at any of those rough edges which creep up every now and then, which is natural, and we’ll get there eventually.”

McCullum confirmed Jonny Bairstow will play in his 100th Test next week, despite not reaching 40 in the series, but there is scrutiny over seamer Ollie Robinson following a disappointing return to action.

Robinson registered an important fifty in his first competitive appearance since July last year but while pace has never been his biggest asset, he struggled to reach 80mph on the speed gun and sent down six no-balls – taking his career tally to 77, which is one more than his haul of wickets in 20 Tests.

His drop of Dhruv Jurel was a key moment, allowing India to move to within 46 of England’s total after the first innings, while Robinson was not called upon to bowl as the hosts chased 192 to win by five wickets on Monday.

McCullum explained Robinson, who has an impressive Test average of 22.92, felt a twinge in his back, which he has struggled with in the past.

“Everything he did leading into the Test match suggested we’d see not just the Ollie Robinson we’d seen previously but a better version of it,” McCullum added.

“He’s not just as disappointed as everyone else, he’s the most disappointed out of everyone. It’s just sport right? You have great expectations and sometimes you’re not quite able to deliver.”

Joe Root believes he must keep “evolving” as a batter or risk being exposed after returning to form as England moved into the ascendancy against India in Ranchi.

Root’s sparkling 122 not out ushered England from 112 for five to 353 all out in the fourth Test as the Yorkshireman ended a lean patch which had seen him collect just 77 runs in six previous innings.

A couple of attack-orientated dismissals brought scrutiny on whether Root needed to tailor his approach – one that has brought more than 11,000 Test runs – to suit England’s current ‘Bazball’ model.

But when asked whether he has been stung by recent criticism, Root gave an impassioned defence of England’s style and insisted he must continue to develop to remain among the world’s top-tier batters.

“Certainly the execution of the shots has weighed on me,” the former England captain said. “Not necessarily the selection but the execution – I’m better than that.

“It’s not about being arrogant. Bazball is a word that’s used a lot but that’s your word, that’s not how we look at it. It’s about how can we get the best out of each other as a team. You’re not always going to get it right (but) we’ll continue to keep trying to improve.

“The reason I’ve played as many games as I have is that I’ve not wanted to stand still as a player, I have to try to keep evolving.

“If you keep on trying to play the same way over and over again, teams work you out and they find your weaknesses. If you don’t try to get better and find different ways of scoring runs, you’ll get found out.”

Root played a more traditional Test innings en route to his 31st hundred in the format before Shoaib Bashir exploited helpful conditions to finish with four for 84 as India closed on 219 for seven.

Root kept his reverse ramp out of sight and admitted a brief inkling of unfurling it to bring up three figures was quickly banished.

“It was a fleeting and selfish thought that left my mind very quickly,” Root said. “You don’t mess with the game, you just try and play what you honestly think is the best way to score runs.

“It was nice to finally get some runs in this series. It felt like it’s been a long time coming.

“It’s been disappointing but the fact I have got quite a lot of experience has been able to keep me calm. The way I’m preparing meant it was going to come at some point.”

Bashir bowled 31 overs at one end in just his eighth first-class match and second Test, with the 20-year-old offering control and a wicket-taking threat on a pitch producing spin and uneven bounce.

Bashir was solely responsible for India lurching from 86 for one to 161 for five, which included the wicket of the in-form Yashasvi Jaiswal, who made 73 before bottom-edging on to his stumps.

“The way he bowls is a great little insight into his character and personality: he is quite cheeky and great fun to be around,” Root said.

“To be able to continually put pressure on some very good players of spin, I know the wicket was helpful at times but he did an amazing job and it’s a great sign for English cricket.”

Bashir’s success left Root “itching to get on” after only being called upon to bowl a single over.

But he added: “It’s nice for Stokesy to be able to put so much trust in a young guy that’s played so little Test cricket.

“You can see he wants it, he’s desperate to do his part and and it was great to see him get rewards for that.”

Shoaib Bashir took top billing on his recall with a career-best four for 84 as England seized control of the fourth Test against India in Ranchi.

After England were all out for 353 on the second morning, as Joe Root finished unbeaten on 122, Bashir was entrusted at one end following a short burst from the seamers and the decision paid rich dividends.

In his eighth first-class match and second Test, Bashir was solely responsible for India lurching from 86 for one to 161 for five, which included the wicket of the in-form Yashasvi Jaiswal.

The India opener has been a constant thorn in England’s side and top-scored with 73, but he was not the only member of his side to fall victim to variable bounce as the hosts went to stumps on 219 for seven, trailing by 134 runs.

Tom Hartley, curiously held back until the 32nd over, chipped in with two for 47 but this was Bashir’s day, as the 20-year-old vindicated his selection after being omitted for England’s defeat in Rajkot.

He came into this series with a first-class bowling average of 67 but is making sure England are not feeling the absence of senior spinner Jack Leach, who announced on Saturday he will undergo surgery on a knee injury which cut short his tour.

Bashir, who took four wickets in the second Test in Visakhapatnam, bowled 31 consecutive overs from one end and exploited helpful conditions as England, trailing 2-1 in the five-match series, put India under the pump.

Days after Ben Stokes admitted he would like to see umpire’s call abolished, England had three on-field decisions upheld as Shubman Gill, Rajat Patidar and Ravichandran Ashwin reviewed their dismissals in vain.

There was no debating the breakthrough as James Anderson claimed Test wicket 697 after a flat-footed Rohit Sharma nicked through to Ben Foakes but Ollie Robinson was luckless, twice drawing the outside edge of Jaiswal either side of lunch.

The first dropped clearly short of Zak Crawley before disappearing for Jaiswal’s first four, but Foakes and England were convinced the second chance was taken cleanly and were momentarily stunned when third umpire Joel Wilson ruled against them, with Stokes cupping his hands to his mouth in shock.

Jaiswal earlier punished Anderson then Robinson for over-pitching with back-to-back fours and showed his range by shimmying down to Bashir and bludgeoning over long-on – his 23rd six of the series.

It was a rare misstep from Bashir, introduced as early as the ninth over just before lunch, as he settled into a mammoth spell, offering initial control and refusing to allow Jaiswal or Gill to dominate before ending an 82-run stand just as England looked to be running short of ideas.

Gill departed for 38 after being rapped on the front pad, beaten on the inside edge and playing down the wrong line, and a decent stride failed to save him on review as he was umpire’s call on impact.

It was just the second lbw of Bashir’s professional career and he did not have to wait long for his third as Patidar was out for 17, with a referral showing the ball would have clipped leg stump.

Ravindra Jadeja took successive sixes off fellow left-arm spinner Hartley, but these were his only scoring shots as he was deceived by extra bounce from Bashir’s top-spinner and plopped a simple bat-pad chance to Ollie Pope in the afternoon gloom.

Jaiswal launched a brief counteroffensive after tea with a late cut and inside-out drive over extra cover for fours off Bashir, who had his revenge and the wicket England prized most when one delivery stayed low and squirted off the toe-end of the opener’s bat before crashing into the stumps.

With the floodlights on, Hartley got into the act, drawing Sarfaraz Khan’s edge which was spectacularly caught by Root, diving to his left at slip, while Ashwin was lbw to a grubber and another India review went England’s way because of the on-field call.

Dhruv Jurel (30 not out) and Kuldeep Yadav (17no) put on an unbroken 42 but the momentum is firmly with the tourists on a tricky pitch.

England earlier added 49 to their overnight score, largely thanks to Robinson, who registered his maiden Test fifty and took his stand with Root to 102 before a reverse sweep brushed his glove en route to Jurel.

Robinson’s departure for 58 was the start of England losing their last three wickets for six runs in 17 balls, with Root left stranded having added just 16 to his day one total.

Shoaib Bashir claimed three top-order wickets but England were again met with resistance from in-form India opener Yashasvi Jaiswal in Ranchi.

Joe Root (122 not out) and Ollie Robinson (58) helped England add 51 to an overnight 302 for seven but they lost their last three wickets for six runs in 17 balls on the second morning of the fourth Test.

James Anderson snared Rohit Sharma to move to within three of 700 Test wickets before the recalled Bashir trapped Shubman Gill and Rajat Patidar lbw and had Ravindra Jadeja caught bat-pad as India went to tea on 131 for four.

Jaiswal (54 not out) was immovable on a pitch which, despite the odd delivery keeping low, was devoid of the gremlins that had given England’s top-order major problems 24 hours earlier.

Robinson, in his first competitive appearance since July, twice drew the edge of Jaiswal but the ball bounced short of Zak Crawley then Ben Stokes, the latter much to England’s obvious chagrin.

Anderson made the breakthrough in his second over, getting one to hold its line and kiss Rohit’s outside edge on the way through to Ben Foakes, but while Robinson did likewise to Jaiswal, the ball dropped in front of a diving Crawley at second slip before scurrying away for the opener’s first four.

Robinson was memorably chided during the Ashes for bowling “124kph (77mph) nude nuts” by former Australia opener Matthew Hayden and the seamer did not do much to shed the tag as he operated in the mid-70mph range.

But he engaged in a fascinating tussle with Jaiswal, who pushed at a wider delivery after lunch and Foakes dived forward to take the edge, only for third umpire Joel Wilson to rule the ball had bounced.

England celebrated before the ‘not out’ verdict was returned on the two big screens and England were momentarily stunned, with captain Ben Stokes cupping his hands to his mouth in shock.

At the other end, Bashir was probing away and while he was dumped back over his head for six by Jaiswal, the off-spinner, in just his second Test, extracted some turn to beat both Gill (38) and Patidar (12) on the inside edge and gain leg-before verdicts.

Tom Hartley was not introduced until the 32nd over and was thumped for back-to-back sixes by Ravindra Jadeja, who was the undone by extra bounce from Bashir and popped a catch to Ollie Pope at short leg.

Earlier, India took the new ball after two deliveries but the hosts could not capitalise as Robinson collected three fours in an eventful over off Akash Deep, who beat the lower-order batter’s outside edge twice.

Robinson brought up a first Test half-century by slog-sweeping Jadeja for a ninth four, to go with one six, and stretched his stand with Root into three figures – England’s first century stand for the eighth wicket since August 2017.

But an attempted reverse sweep off Jadeja brushed Robinson’s glove on the way through to Dhruv Jurel and England’s innings unravelled quickly.

Shoaib Bashir clothed a skier to backward point while Jadeja had his and India’s third wicket of the morning when Anderson made a hash of a sweep and was lbw. Jadeja was the pick of the bowlers with four for 67.

James Anderson snared India captain Rohit Sharma after Joe Root was left stranded on 122 not out as England were all out for 353 on the second morning of the fourth Test.

Anderson kissed the outside edge of Rohit’s bat as India went to lunch on 34 for one in Ranchi after Ollie Robinson registered his maiden Test fifty in a 102-run stand with Root, who added 16 runs to his overnight score.

Robinson’s dismissal for 58 was the start of England losing their final three wickets for six runs in 17 balls, with Jadeja taking three dismissals to finish with figures of four for 67, as Root ran out of partners.

Robinson, who got away with an lbw decision off Jadeja on Friday evening because India had used all their reviews, took the attack to India’s bowlers on a pitch with very few of the demons seen on the first morning, although the odd delivery still kept low.

India took the new ball after two deliveries as England resumed on 302 for seven, but the hosts could not capitalise as Robinson took three fours in an eventful over off Akash Deep, who beat the lower-order batter’s outside edge twice.

Robinson brought up a first Test half-century by slog sweeping Jadeja for a ninth four, to go with one six, and stretched his stand with Root into three figures – England’s first century stand for the eighth wicket since August 2017.

But an attempted reverse sweep off Jadeja brushed Robinson’s glove on the way through to Dhruv Jurel and England’s innings unravelled quickly.

Shoaib Bashir clothed a skier to backward point while Jadeja had his and India’s third wicket of the morning when Anderson made a hash of a sweep and was lbw.

Ben Stokes warmed up alongside the bowlers before India had to negotiate a 45-minute period before lunch but it was Anderson and Robinson, making his first competitive appearance since last July, entrusted with the new ball.

Anderson made the breakthrough in his second over, getting one to hold its line and kiss Rohit’s outside edge.

Robinson, whose bowling was famously described as “124kph (77mph) nude nuts” in the Ashes by former Australia opener Matthew Hayden, did not touch 80mph but drew the edge of Yashasvi Jaiswal only for the ball to bounce short of Zak Crawley and disappear for four.

Robinson beat the outside edge on a couple of occasions but was then driven by Jaiswal, who has made double hundreds in his last two Tests, for his fifth four in the over before lunch.

Zak Crawley insisted there was never any doubt “phenomenal” Joe Root would return to form for England following his unbeaten century against India.

Root came into the fourth Test having not reached 30 in the series while a couple of uncharacteristic dismissals recently led to scrutiny on whether he should tailor his methods to fit the ‘Bazball’ philosophy.

The argument has been Root does not need to alter his approach and he put his lean patch behind him with a more traditional Test innings to amass 106 not out as England went to stumps on 302 for seven.

The 33-year-old rescued England after they had slipped to 112 for five in a helter-skelter opening session on a cracked Ranchi pitch and Crawley believes the Yorkshireman is the only batter who could have dug the tourists out of the fire.

“He’s probably the only bloke in our team who could have done that knock, he’s that good and he’s stepped up when we needed him to,” Crawley said.

“He’s a phenomenal player. We fully expected him to get a good score at some point in this series. He was due, he’s the best player we’ve ever had and he played phenomenally.

“We’re so happy for him and we never doubted him. If anything we know that when he’s got a couple of low scores he’s even more likely to get the big one, and we expected that from him.

“He deserves everything he gets, he works so hard at his game and he always comes good.”

Root’s 31st Test hundred – brought up off 219 balls, the slowest century by any England batter under the leadership of Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum – was marked in understated fashion as he kissed the badge on his helmet and raised his bat to team-mates who were celebrating enthusiastically on the dressing-room balcony.

There was no sign of the reverse ramp he had gotten out to in Rajkot, which proved a sliding doors moment in England’s heavy defeat as they went 2-1 down in the five-match series, while conventional and reverse sweeps were rare occurrences.

Root was unbreachable in defence, judicious off front and back foot and unfurled his customary late cuts and leg glances behind square, while there was also the odd cover drive.

Crawley, though, insisted a surface offering early movement and uneven bounce throughout dictated Root’s more classical innings, rather than widespread criticism he has faced in the last few days.

“If the pitch had been truer, I reckon he would have still played those shots,” Crawley said.

“It might have just been the variable bounce which stopped him sweeping and paddling, it wasn’t really the pitch for that kind of thing; it was too inconsistent.

“In Dharamshala (which will host the fifth Test), it’s a flatter wicket, I’d fully expect him to reverse ramp one. That’s just Joe. He’s very present when he bats and doesn’t overthink too much.”

England went at 4.63 an over in the morning thanks to counter-attacking knocks from Crawley, who made a run-a-ball 42, and Jonny Bairstow’s 38 off 35 deliveries.

But the tricky surface, rather than a brain fade, was largely responsible for England’s precarious position at lunch, with Crawley bowled twice by Akash Deep, the first off a no-ball, as the India debutant bagged a three-wicket haul.

While the odd one still kept low, batting conditions improved upon the resumption as Root and Ben Foakes (47) combined to put on 113 to stabilise the tourists.

Crawley hopes England’s seamers can make similar inroads with the new ball but anticipates spin to dominate for the remainder of the match.

“I got out still fairly early but it looked like it wasn’t bouncing anywhere near as much or as quickly as earlier on against seam,” Crawley added.

“It got harder against the spin, it will continue to break up. It might be a new-ball wicket, hopefully it is when we bowl but the I think the spin’s only going to get harder.”

England have put an emphasis on height in selecting seamer Ollie Robinson and off-spinner Shoaib Bashir for the fourth Test against India on a pitch expected to offer turn and variable bounce.

The surface in Ranchi was described on Wednesday by Ben Stokes as “like nothing I’ve ever seen before” 48 hours before the start of the Test, with cracks running down one side of the cut strip.

After a second inspection on Thursday alongside head coach Brendon McCullum and selector Luke Wright, England captain Stokes elected to keep faith with two seamers as Robinson partners James Anderson.

Robinson and Bashir are both well over 6ft and the bounce they can extract has earned them the nod over skiddier pair Mark Wood and Rehan Ahmed as England look to hit back from a heavy defeat in Rajkot.

“We get asked about the pitch and we give our opinion but that doesn’t mean we are going in with too many preconceived ideas,” Stokes said. “The pitch could be as flat as a pancake, who knows?

“If it is, we will adapt to that. We do like to look at the pitch two days out and one day out, because that’s how we like to pick our XIs. Looking at that, I think there is going to be assistance for spin.

“But I think also it looks like someone like Bash, who releases the ball from such a high release point, the extra bounce that he gets we feel is going to bring us more into the game.

“I also feel having two seamers gives us a good chance purely because of Ollie Robinson’s release height and his relentlessness with his areas.”

The selection of Robinson, who has not played competitively since the third Ashes Test in July, and evergreen Anderson may lessen the need for Stokes to resume his career as a fully-fledged all-rounder.

Despite reporting no soreness after a 35-minute spell of bowling full tilt on Wednesday, Stokes was coy about if he would give his side, trailing 2-1 in the five-match series, another seam option.

“I’ve pulled up really well,” Stokes told the BBC. “It’s another step forward for me in terms of the ball. As keen as I am to get there, I do have to be very sensible about it.”

Bashir took four wickets in his debut for England in the second Test in Visakhapatnam before bring dropped in Rajkot but he partners slow left-armer Tom Hartley as the tourists’ two main spinners.

That means no room for Ahmed, who played in the first three Tests and took 11 wickets at an average of 44, although Stokes insisted the young leg-spinner’s absence was no reflection on how he has performed.

“He’s gone out and tried everything that we’ve asked of him,” Stokes said. “The way in which he has taken the game on with the ball is something I’ve been very, very impressed with.

“I think he’ll take a lot of learnings out of these three games, which will only progress his career, rather than not being the person who bowled in that situation, if that makes sense.”

Despite bowling 38 overs in the 434-run loss in Rajkot and just four days’ rest between the end of the third Test and start of the fourth, Anderson retains his spot.

Anderson needs just four more wickets to become the first fast bowler in history to reach 700 in Tests and Stokes marvelled at the 41-year-old’s professionalism and longevity.

“If you’re a young fast bowler, Jimmy Anderson is the one person who you want as your role model,” Stokes added. “Not only the amount of wickets he’s got but the fact he can keep going at his age.

“Even saying approaching 700 Test wickets as a fast bowler is incredible. He’ll know that but I don’t think that will be at the top of his mind for this week, just because of where we’re at in the series.”

Ben Stokes is poised to resume his status as an all-rounder and boost England’s bowling options on a pitch expected to be the most spin-friendly on the tour of India.

Stokes will wait to see how his body reacts to a demanding 35-minute spell of fast bowling in training on Wednesday before deciding if he will send down any overs in the fourth Test, starting on Friday in Ranchi.

He has not bowled competitively since early July and initially had no plans to do so in this series after surgery in November to have stitches in his meniscus and a bone spur removed from his left knee.

Indeed, Stokes had made a “pinky promise” with England’s physiotherapist Ben Davies not to bowl in India but that looks increasingly likely to change with his side 2-1 down in the five-match series.

“Whatever way we decide to go, (if) I feel I am capable of bowling, I will bowl,” said the England captain, who added he would buy Davies a beer if he broke his vow.

“I think there is a possible chance but I will just have to wait and see how everything is.

“I wanted to get a long spell in to see how everything coped whilst doing it then see how I pull up. It is all good at the moment. That is the longest I have bowled in six months.

“Before I went and had the surgery I was told 12-13 weeks before I could start bowling. I am two weeks ahead of that and I am quite far ahead, but there are things I have to think about other than my knee.”

Stokes returning to bowl allows England to have two seamers in their XI and select three frontline spinners in Tom Hartley, Rehan Ahmed and Shoaib Bashir, as well as the part-time offerings of Joe Root.

The playing surface in the Jharkhand capital 48 hours out from the first day of the penultimate match has cracks running down one side of the cut strip, which a bemused Stokes admitted he has never encountered before in India.

The evidence points to a wicket which will offer lavish spin but there may be some variable bounce as well which could aid the quicks as England look to bounce back from a heavy defeat in Rajkot.

“It just looked interesting,” said Stokes, echoing the observation England vice-captain Ollie Pope made a couple of hours earlier.

“If you looked down one side of opposite ends it just looked different to what I am used to seeing, especially out in India.

“It looked green and grassy up in the changing rooms but then you go out there it looked different, very dark and crumbly and quite a few cracks in it.”

One or both of James Anderson and Mark Wood could make way after their heavy workloads in Rajkot, which might mean a first appearance of the series for Ollie Robinson, who has not played competitively since the third Ashes Test last July.

Robinson, who averages 22.21 in 19 Tests, can move the new ball both ways, while his use of reverse swing on the predominantly lifeless pitches of Pakistan last winter caught the eye.

“He’s got unbelievable skills to be a successful bowler anywhere in the world,” Stokes said.

“He has worked incredibly hard while he has been out here. Not playing the first three Tests can be tough and disappointing but I’ve told him he has been a great example of doing the right things and waiting your turn if it comes.”

England’s attacking methods came in for some flak after a 434-run loss last time out but Stokes and head coach Brendon McCullum are resisting calls from some ex-players to tinker with their approach.

“You get plaudits when it goes well and a bit of s*** when it doesn’t,” added Stokes, when asked if he was surprised by some of the criticism. “It’s part of it, I’ve been around long enough to know that but we crack on.”

England will get a break from Jasprit Bumrah in Ranchi as India rest their star paceman for the fourth Test which starts on Friday.

The world’s number one-ranked Test bowler did not travel with the India squad as the two teams moved from Rajkot to the Jharkhand capital on a charter flight on Tuesday afternoon.

Bumrah has been the only frontline fast bowler from either side to be an ever-present in the series so far and there is just a four-day turnaround between the end of the third Test and start of the fourth.

It was widely reported that Bumrah would miss out in Rajkot after his starring role earlier this month in Visakhapatnam, where a nine-wicket match haul helped India level the series.

Bumrah featured in the third Test but had a more understated role with just one wicket in each innings on a flat pitch as India claimed victory by a record 434-run margin to move 2-1 up with two to play.

Despite being without several regulars in this series, including Virat Kohli because of personal reasons and injuries sidelining Mohammed Shami and Rishabh Pant, India have opted to rest Bumrah this week where conditions are again unlikely to be in his favour.

Batter KL Rahul will sit out again having missed the third Test with a quad injury.

“Jasprit Bumrah has been released from the squad for the 4th IDFC First Bank Test against England in Ranchi. The decision was taken keeping in mind the duration of the series and amount of cricket he has played in recent times,” a Board of Control for Cricket in India statement read.

“Meanwhile, KL Rahul is ruled out of the fourth Test. His participation in the final Test match in Dharamsala is subject to fitness.

“Mukesh Kumar, who was released from the squad for the third Test in Rajkot, has joined the squad in Ranchi.”

Bumrah is the leading wicket-taker in the series with 17 dismissals at a stunning average of 13.64 and it is thought the more seam-friendly conditions in Dharamshala – the venue for the fifth Test – will be much more to his liking.

England head coach Brendon McCullum anticipates a wicket which will turn as they take a step into the unknown later this week at the JSCA International Stadium Complex.

The venue has played host to just two Tests, the most recent in October 2019 where India beat South Africa by an innings and 202 runs, while England’s only previous visit to Ranchi was 11 years ago in an ODI.

Joe Root is the only survivor from that match in the current England squad. The Yorkshireman has struggled with the bat in the past few weeks, yet to reach 30 in six attempts although he has had a more prominent bowling role, sending down 107 overs so far.

Asked if Root could shuffle down the batting order by a place or two to make allowances for his extra workload, McCullum insisted the idea has not been discussed between him and captain Ben Stokes.

“I haven’t thought about it,” McCullum said. “I think Joe wants to be in the game. He’s totally invested in where this team wants to go. You see him on the field: he’s constantly going up to Stokesy.

“He’s incredibly invested. He spent a lot of time with his team-mates working in the nets on stuff as well. He wants a bigger role that he’s obviously offering. Honestly, I think Joe will be absolutely fine.”

England may get a break from Jasprit Bumrah in Ranchi as India are set to rest their star paceman for the fourth Test which starts on Friday.

It is understood the world’s number one-ranked Test bowler did not travel with India’s squad as the two teams travelled from Rajkot to the Jharkhand capital on a charter flight on Tuesday afternoon.

While there has been no definitive confirmation Bumrah will miss out, he has been the only frontline fast bowler from either side to be an ever-present in the series so far and there is just a four-day turnaround between the end of the third Test and start of the fourth.

It was widely reported that Bumrah would miss out in Rajkot after his starring role earlier this month in Visakhapatnam, where a nine-wicket match haul helped India level the series.

Bumrah featured in the third Test but had a more understated role with just one wicket in each innings on a flat pitch as India claimed victory by a record 434-run margin to move 2-1 up with two to play.

Despite being without several regulars in this series, including Virat Kohli because of personal reasons and injuries sidelining Mohammed Shami and Rishabh Pant, it seems India will leave out Bumrah this week where conditions are again unlikely to be in his favour.

Bumrah is the leading wicket-taker in the series with 17 dismissals at a stunning average of 13.64 and it is thought the more seam-friendly conditions in Dharamshala – the venue for the fifth Test – will be much more to his liking.

England head coach Brendon McCullum anticipates a wicket which will turn as they take a step into the unknown later this week at the JSCA International Stadium Complex.

The venue has played host to just two Tests, the most recent in October 2019 where India beat South Africa by an innings and 202 runs, while England’s only previous visit to Ranchi was 11 years ago in an ODI.

Joe Root is the only survivor from that match in the current England squad. The Yorkshireman has struggled with the bat in the past few weeks, yet to reach 30 in six attempts although he has had a more prominent bowling role, sending down 107 overs so far.

Asked if Root could shuffle down the batting order by a place or two to make allowances for his extra workload, McCullum insisted the idea has not been discussed between him and captain Ben Stokes.

“I haven’t thought about it,” McCullum said. “I think Joe wants to be in the game. He’s totally invested in where this team wants to go. You see him on the field: he’s constantly going up to Stokesy.

“He’s incredibly invested. He spent a lot of time with his team-mates working in the nets on stuff as well. He wants a bigger role that he’s obviously offering. Honestly, I think Joe will be absolutely fine.”

Ravichandran Ashwin’s decision to leave the India team mid-Test and tend to an urgent family matter was the “absolutely right thing to do”, according to captain Rohit Sharma.

Ashwin’s withdrawal from the third Test against England in Rajkot after the second day’s play was down to a family medical emergency and left India effectively down to 10 players.

While India could use a substitute fielder the playing conditions prohibited a replacement, but despite the absence of a spinner with 500 Test wickets, the hosts moved into the ascendancy on day three.

Ashwin returned on Sunday and took the wicket of Tom Hartley in England’s second innings as India sealed a 434-run win – their biggest margin of victory in terms of runs – to go 2-1 up in the series.

“When you lose your most experienced bowler, especially in the middle of a Test match it is not easy,” Rohit said. “But everything was aside, family comes first.

“When we heard the news, there was no second thought in our mind. (We felt) he should do what he feels is right and obviously he wanted to be with the family which is an absolutely right thing to do.

“Good on him to make a way and come here and be part of the team on this day.

“It shows the character and shows the kind of person he is – wanting to put everything ahead for the team. We were happy to have him back.”

England’s defeat was their heaviest since 1934 and they were on course for one of their lowest totals after capitulating to 50 for seven before the last three wickets added 72.

While England subsided to their seventh lowest score against India, Rohit’s side sealed a memorable victory, having handed debuts to middle-order batter Sarfaraz Khan and wicketkeeper Dhruv Jurel.

Both rookies made an impression as did 22-year-old opener Yashasvi Jaiswal, who made his second successive double hundred in his seventh Test, and Kuldeep Yadav, who took four wickets in his 10th appearance in this format.

“It’s a big victory,” Rohit added.

“Obviously it’s a very good feeling to win a game like that and especially with such a young team as well.

“A lot of credit to these young boys who have come in and shown a lot of character. It looks like they belong here, and they actually want to stay here as well. It is quite satisfying when you win a Test match like that.”

England were chastened as never before in the Bazball era following another blockbuster double century from Yashasvi Jaiswal as they were set a world record 557 to win the third Test.

Jaiswal, who made 209 in Visakhapatnam last time out, equalled the record for the most sixes in an innings with a dozen in his unbeaten 214 to underpin India’s 430 for four declared in Rajkot.

England then lost both openers on the stroke of tea, ending a grim session on 18 for two in sapping conditions, as India took a giant stride towards moving 2-1 up in the five-match series.

Ben Stokes and England’s bowlers were powerless to stop Jaiswal, who crashed James Anderson for three successive sixes at one stage and shared an unbroken 172 in 158 balls alongside Sarfaraz Khan (68no).

Anderson leaked 78 from 13 wicketless overs, the first time he has gone at or more than a run-a-ball in several years, while Joe Root and Rehan Ahmed conceded over 100 runs with economy rates exceeding four.

This marked the first time under Stokes and head coach Brendon McCullum’s stewardship that an opposing team had declared against England.

Ben Duckett said the previous evening India “can have as many as they want and we’ll go and get them” but India are set to be boosted by the reintroduction of Ravichandran Ashwin on the penultimate day.

Ashwin, India’s premier spinner, pulled out of the Test on Friday night to tend to a family medical emergency but it was announced he will return on Sunday afternoon and be available immediately.

Even before he had taken the field, Duckett ran himself out before Zak Crawley was given lbw off Jasprit Bumrah, the decision staying with the on-field umpire as the ball would have flicked leg stump.

Jaiswal made 104 before retiring hurt on the third evening although he was back in situ after England made their only breakthrough of the first hour when Shubman Gill was run out for 91.

Nightwatcher Kuldeep Yadav added 27 before edging Rehan Ahmed to Joe Root. There was no celebration and the umpires had to send the decision upstairs to confirm the dismissal.

That merely brought together Mumbai mates Jaiswal and Sarfaraz, two of India’s big-hitters with a licence to throw caution to the wind and the pair accelerated sharply either side of lunch.

It was especially brutal in the first hour of the afternoon as 98 runs were added. Anderson attempted to frustrate Jaiswal by initially bowling wider but after going straighter the 41-year-old was flicked over long leg, carved over deep extra cover then driven back over his head for three sixes in a row.

Anderson, who has only gone at six an over on only a handful of occasions and not since December 2006 when he has sent down more than 10 deliveries in an innings, was hooked for Root soon after.

Root put down a difficult return catch when Sarfaraz was on 37 – the Yorkshireman’s second drop of the Test, although this was not as important as his first-day spill of Rohit, which cost 104 runs.

Sarfaraz went on to record an almost understated 50, the debutant’s second of the Test, with the crowd’s energy firmly fixed on Jaiswal.

He pushed Root into the off-side for a single, spreading his arms aloft before taking off his helmet and leaping and punching the air before soaking up the acclaim and sharing a handshake with Stokes.

Jaiswal was denied the chance to set the record for the most sixes in an innings, he is joint with Pakistan great Wasim Akram on 12, as Rohit called in his batters.

England gave India a leg up in the absence of Ravichandran Ashwin as Joe Root’s ugly dismissal sparked a dramatic collapse on the third day of the third Test in Rajkot.

Ashwin’s bombshell withdrawal from the Test the previous evening because of a family emergency meant India could only replace their premier spinner with a substitute fielder, depleting their bowling.

But they found their guests in obliging mood as Root’s patented reverse ramp off Jasprit Bumrah was brilliantly caught by Yashasvi Jaiswal, and a position of 224 for two became 319 all out.

Root was far from alone from contributing to his own demise, with Ben Duckett (153) and Ben Stokes (41) also guilty of loose strokes, as England surrendered a 126-run first-innings deficit before India swelled their advantage to 170 after going to tea on 44 for one.

Root partly atoned by making the breakthrough when India batted again, dismissing Rohit Sharma lbw when the home side’s captain missed a sweep. Umpire Joel Wilson’s not out decision was overturned but England still have a lot of work to do in the final session to swing back a bit of momentum.

The tourists’ profligacy drew parallels with last year’s Lord’s Ashes Test, where England were on 188 for one in reply to 416, with Australia minus spinner Nathan Lyon due to injury, before a succession of rash shots saw them skittled for 325.

England’s attacking brand under Stokes and Brendon McCullum is well-known but the match situation did not require a bold gambit from Root at the outset of a day where conditions grew increasingly sapping.

Duckett’s swaggering century had carried England to 207 for two from just 35 overs and, seeking to stay on the front foot, Root’s attempt to up the ante merely flew to second slip where Jaiswal held on excellently.

Root, who dropped Rohit Sharma in India’s first innings which cost 104 runs, was out for 18 which means he has failed to pass 30 in five innings in this series.

Root’s dismissal was put into harsher context when Jonny Bairstow was plumb lbw after Kuldeep Yadav found sharp turn. It was the Yorkshireman’s eighth duck against India and no other batter in history has made more.

Duckett lacked the fluency that had brought him an 88-ball hundred the previous evening but still moved to 150. However, he added just three off his next 12 deliveries which might explain why a batter so accustomed to feeling bat on ball chased a long hop from Yadav and toe-ended to cover.

Stokes, in his 100th Test, and Ben Foakes came through an exacting period, especially from Kuldeep, who bowled 12 overs unchanged with Ravindra Jadeja curiously unused until just before lunch.

Stokes was judicious off front and back foot and looked primed to mark his milestone Test in fashion but was suckered into a slog sweep off Jadeja, with Bumrah running back to take the catch.

Foakes fell for 13 next ball after pushing at Mohammed Siraj, albeit the ball sticking in the pitch a little, with those two dismissals the start of England losing their last five wickets in 38 balls and their final three in nine. Siraj bounced back from his mauling off Duckett to take four for 84.

England gave India a leg-up in the absence of Ravichandran Ashwin as Joe Root and Ben Duckett gifted away their wickets on the third morning of the third Test in Rajkot.

Ashwin’s bombshell withdrawal from the Test the previous evening because of a family emergency meant India could only replace their premier spinner with a substitute fielder, depleting their bowling.

But they found their guests in obliging mood as Root’s patented reverse ramp, with which he has had success in the past, off Jasprit Bumrah was brilliantly caught by Yashasvi Jaiswal at second slip.

After Jonny Bairstow fell for a record-breaking eighth duck against India, Duckett, who had batted with panache in an incredible counter-attacking 88-ball hundred on day two, toe-ended a Kuldeep Yadav long hop to cover for 153 as England lurched from 224 for two to 290 for five at lunch.

Memories of England burning themselves in last year’s Ashes Test at Lord’s – when several batters were caught hooking despite the absence of injured Australia spinner Nathan Lyon – came flooding back.

Captain Ben Stokes (39 not out) on his 100th Test and Ben Foakes (6no) survived some testing moments but England still trail by 155 runs on a pitch that is offering more assistance to the bowlers.

India used just three bowlers for most of the morning with Ravindra Jadeja, back from a hamstring injury sending down an over before lunch.

Before that, Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj dovetailed at one end with Kuldeep operating from the other.

Wickets had fallen early in each of the two previous days but the breakthrough on Saturday owed more to a rash stroke from Root rather than skill from Jasprit Bumrah. The match situation did not require a bold gambit but Root’s attempt to up the ante merely allowed India to get their tails up.

Root’s dismissal for 18 means he has failed to pass 30 in five innings in this series while he has been dismissed nine times in 21 innings by Bumrah.

Root’s dismissal was put into harsher context when Bairstow was plumb lbw after Yadav found sharp turn, with the Yorkshireman burning a review. No other batter in history has made more ducks against India than Bairstow.

Duckett was not as authoritative as the previous evening and gave the slightest of chances on 149, with Rohit Sharma getting a fingertip to an edge, before the left-handed opener moved to 150 off 139 balls.

He added just another three off 12 deliveries, which perhaps contributed to his eyes lighting up when a short and wide delivery was offered by Kuldeep but Duckett horribly miscued.

India spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has withdrawn from the third Test against England in Rajkot because of a family medical emergency.

Ashwin became just the ninth bowler in history and second Indian after Anil Kumble to reach 500 Test wickets on Friday when he dismissed Zak Crawley in the final session of the second day.

However, just a few hours after the close of play, the Board of Cricket for Control in India announced Ashwin had immediately pulled out of the squad and his availability for the last three days is unknown.

“In these challenging times, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the team fully supports Ashwin,” read a statement from the BCCI secretary Jay Shah.

“The BCCI extends its heartfelt support to the champion cricketer and his family. The health and well-being of the players and their loved ones are of utmost importance.

“The board requests respect for the privacy of Ashwin and his family as they navigate through this challenging time.”

A tweet from BCCI vice-president Rajeev Shukla added: “Wishing speedy recovery of mother of @ashwinravi99. He has to rush and leave Rajkot test to Chennai to be with his mother”

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