sport news England captain Joe Root under scrutiny for batting order changes

Joe Root's choices for change came under scrutiny during England's bid to quell India's Test series fightback and make the Oval finale next week a dead rubber.

The mid-match decision to alter the batting order, allowing Root to return to his favoured number four position behind the promoted Moeen Ali, appeared to have recuperative effects as he came within a couple of runs of only his second half-century in four matches against Virat Kohli's team.

However, with his touch clearly returning, he was sacrificed by an iffy afternoon call for a single by Ben Stokes - the distance his bat was short of the line when Mohammad Shami's throw from mid-off found its target not as close a shave as the one Stokes gave to Root's head the previous evening.

Joe Root was run out for 48 in England's second innings against India in Southampton

Joe Root was run out for 48 in England's second innings against India in Southampton

Root went for a risky singly while batting with Ben Stokes and paid the ultimate price 

Root went for a risky singly while batting with Ben Stokes and paid the ultimate price 

Moeen Ali came in to bat at No 3, allowing Root to come in at his favoured fourth position 

Moeen Ali came in to bat at No 3, allowing Root to come in at his favoured fourth position 

That is when, according to the vice-captain Joe Buttler, the decision to go back on England coach Trevor Bayliss' request for the 27-year-old to bat at first drop was made.

Buttler, who top-scored with 69 in a second-innings total that gives England a 233-run lead with two days remaining in Southampton, revealed: 'Moeen's been in such fantastic form in the last few weeks batting at number

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