Moeen Ali India England 2018
Has Moeen Ali done enough to earn a comeback? Getty Images

Jonny Bairstow fractured the middle finger of his left hand while trying to gather a ball from James Anderson during the third Test between India and England, at Trent Bridge. The Guardian has already reported that Bairstow is as good as ruled out of the fourth and fifth Tests, at Rose Bowl and The Oval respectively. This has come as a major blow for England, who are already up against a humongous target of 521 in the ongoing Test.

With 206 runs at 51.50, Bairstow has been England’s leading run-scorer of the series. No other Englishman has got even 150 till Stumps, Day Three, of the Test.

Who will replace Bairstow at Rose Bowl and The Oval? Moeen Ali, picked in the squad but rejected from the XI for all three Tests, has now put a claim to the spot with a superb hundred for Worcestershire against Yorkshire at Scarborough. Worcestershire, 39 without loss overnight after bowling out Yorkshire for 216 on Monday, lost Tom Fell to Jack Brooks on a team score of 111.

Then Moeen walked out and added an unbeaten 199 with opener Daryl Mitchell (140*) by Stumps on Day Two. Moeen reached his fifty off 85 balls and hundred off 160. He is unbeaten on 107, an innings that has taken him only 167 balls, and has hit 14 fours and a six.

But that is not all. Yorkshire were looking decent at 151 for 4 on Day One. Then wicketkeeper Jonathan Tattersall fell to Dillon Perrington, and almost immediately Moeen struck twice. The first wicket was of Kane Williamson, bowled for 87. Shortly afterwards he had captain David Willey for a duck, and Yorkshire were suddenly 155 for 8.

Brooks, No. 10, went after him to ruin his figures, but Moeen still finished with 2 for 40. Yes, there is definitely a claim, what with Bairstow ruled out and Ben Stokes looking in indifferent form with bat.

Brief scores:

Yorkshire 216 (Kane Williamson 87; Ed Barnard 3 for 32, Dillon Perrington 4 for 53) trail Worcestershire 310 for 1 (Daryl Mitchell 140*, Moeen Ali 107*; Jack Brooks 1 for 64) by 94 runs.