History awaits Anderson as England make two changes

England have added Ollie Robinson and Shoaib Bashir for the fourth Test against India in Ranchi, omitting Mark Wood and Rehan Ahmed

England have drafted in seamer Ollie Robinson and off-spinner Shoaib Bashir for their must-win fourth Test against India starting today in Ranchi.

Fast bowler Mark Wood drops out after an onerous workload in the third-Test defeat in Rajkot, where he bowled mainly in sweltering conditions, while leg-spinner Rehan Ahmed has also been omitted.

Robinson is set for his first appearance of the series while Bashir returns after taking four wickets on his England debut in the second Test in Visakhapatnam earlier this month.

England, who trail 2-1 in the five-match series, keep two seamers and two spinners despite being left bemused over the state of the Ranchi pitch, which has cracks running down one side of the cut strip.

James Anderson keeps his place despite sending down 38 overs in the 434-run defeat in Rajkot and sits four wickets away from becoming the first fast bowler to reach 700 in Tests.

"If you're a young fast bowler, Jimmy Anderson is the one person who you want as your role model," England captain Ben Stokes said.

"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."

Stokes was coy over whether he will bowl competitively for the first time since last July following surgery on his left knee in November.

He bowled for 35 minutes in training on Wednesday morning at full tilt and has had no adverse reactions but did not confirm whether he intends to return to full allrounder status this week.

"I've pulled up really well," he 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."

Victory will secure India a series victory but they'll have to do it without their pace spearhead, with their 2-1 cushion allowing them to rest Jasprit Bumrah, the leading wicket-taker of the series.

With India determined to manage Bumrah's workload and Mohammed Shami missing the series with an ankle injury, the onus is now on Mohammed Siraj to lead India's pace attack.

Akash Deep is also expected to make his Test debut as the second seamer.

India, who have not lost a Test series on home soil since defeat by England in 2012, are expected to pick a spin-heavy attack on a pitch that already has cracks at both ends.

Middle-order batter KL Rahul, who injured his thigh in the opening Test in Hyderabad, has not recovered yet but India will take heart from Sarfaraz Khan's twin fifties in his debut Test in Rajkot.

Wicketkeeper Dhruv Jurel, who also made his debut in Rajkot, struck a fluent 46 to prove he is no dud with the bat either.

"The youngsters are really smart, which is a great news for us," India batting coach Vikram Rathour told reporters on Thursday.

"Of course, our domestic cricket is so strong that you are pretty assured that only quality players are coming through.

"We are missing some key players but a home series is always a good opportunity for the young talents to play in familiar conditions and establish themselves in the side."

– with Reuters