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England are down and out and will be end the series with a win IANS

With the series done and dusted, England will turn up in MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chepauk, Chennai to gain some respite in the five-Test series against India where nothing has gone their way. The first Test showed England were in for a fight but looked out of sorts ever since. Losing the second Test by 246 runs at Visakhapatnam, the visitors failed to stage a comeback at Mohali and conceded the series at Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai. It gets tough for any touring side to ‘play for pride’ in a forgettable series but England will like to avoid further embarrassment by preventing another loss at Chennai.Here is a look at the probable XI Alastair Cook may field, jotted down by Aditya Sahay:

Top-order: Ever since Andrew Strauss hung up his boots in Tests, Cook has been thriving hard to find a regular opening partner. The 19-year-old sensation, Haseeb Hameed, was top-notch displaying his love towards batting and delivered unflinchingly in the first three Tests versus India. Fate played its part and Hameed was ruled out of the remaining two Tests due to finger injury. His replacement, the South Africa-born Keaton Jennings, filled in for him and began his career with a bang. India have always been kind towards debutants or out-of-form sides/players and the love affair continued as Jennings scored a century on his debut innings at Wankhede.

FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: India vs England, 5th test at Chennai

England, in all likelihood, will come out with the same opening pair at Chepauk with Joe Root coming in at No. 3. Jennings and Cook added 99 in the first innings of the fourth Test and will like to get their side to a rollicking start before their mainstay, Root, takes guard.

Middle-order: England have experimented with Moeen Ali making him bat at several positions. He started the series at No. 5 but was promoted to No. 4 after the second Test. He scored a fifty followed by a duck in the last Test and will be eager to sign off positively. His calm demeanour makes him a vital cog in the middle and expect him to walk in at No. 4. Wicketkeeper-batsman, Jonny Bairstow, is just 62 runs away from being the highest run-scorer in a calendar year for England and will keep that in mind when he takes strides at No. 5. To keep the left-hand-right-hand combination going in the middle-order, Ben Stokes should come at No. 6. The black soil at Chepauk will keep the spinners in business and test the trio with spin and some bounce.

Lower-order and bowlers: It is amusing to mention Jos Buttler’s name in the lower-order but his ability to bat with the tail makes him a strong contender for the No. 7 spot. He will be followed by the set of bowlers. It will be tough for Cook to pick his bowlers with James Anderson being ruled out (due to knee sourness) and Chris Woakes remaining inefficient. Nonetheless, Stuart Broad is fit and has a good chance to play. Woakes and Broad will spearhead the pace attack followed by Adil Rashid and Gareth Batty.

Making a comeback at 39, one would have expected to see more of Batty. He has got limited chances and looked perplexed about his role in the Mohali Test. There is no point of selecting a veteran like him and not giving him a longer rope. The Chepauk track can accommodate three spinners (in form of Moeen, Rashid and Batty) with two seamers running in from other end.

England have been incompetent due to their ordinary spin attack and no contribution from lower-order. They will like to rectify their flaws and end the series with a win. With Cook only 2 runs away from 11,000 runs, Woakes 2 shy from 50 scalps and Moeen 3 away from 100 wickets, England would like to make the final Test a landmark by ticking all the boxes.

England’s likely XI for fifth Test: Alastair Cook (c), Keaton Jennings, Joe Root, Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Chris Woakes, Adil Rashid, Gareth Batty, Stuart Broad.

(Aditya Sahay is a journalist with CricketCountry who is completely into sports and loves writing about cricket in general. He can be followed on Twitter at adisahay7)