The England captain, Alastair Cook, has announced a re-jigged batting lineup for Saturday’s third Test against India in Mohali, and Jonny Bairstow retain the wicketkeeping gloves but move up to No5.
Buttler, who will be playing his first Test in 13 months, replaces Ben Duckett from the side that went 1-0 down in Visakhapatnam, with Moeen Ali promoted to No4. Both the fast bowler Stuart Broad and left-arm spinner Zafar Ansari will miss out with respective foot and back injuries and with the former replaced by Chris Woakes, just one place remains unconfirmed.
Cook and the England head coach, Trevor Bayliss, or one of their reserve ; a dry pitch means they are leaning heavily towards the first of those options.
On Buttler’s return, which follows a year of white-ball excellence but just two first-class innings, the England captain said: “It’s clearly not ideal because of circumstances and he hasn’t played a lot of red-ball cricket but sometimes when the pressure’s off and you just go out and play you can do something special.”
“Jonny had a glint in his eye when I said we’d like him to move up. He bats at No5 and keeps at Yorkshire so he’s used to that role. If everything was ideal we’d leave him at No7 because it gives him a bit more time to recover but this does give him more time to bat with better batters.
“ There was no temptation to give Jos the gloves back. I think Jonny’s been outstanding and has settled in that role and done very well.”
England are now playing their final card in terms of reserve batting options – Duckett joins his fellow left-hander Gary Ballance in being dropping during this subcontinental winter – but Cook ruled out adding any more players from back home before the fourth Test in Mumbai on 8 December.
Duckett made just one half-century in his seven Test innings after coming into the side during the drawn series with Bangladesh and was removed three times by Ravi Ashwin during the first two Tests in India. Cook has backed the 22-year-old to have a long international career but for now, more work is needed in addressing a glitch against the off-spinners from around the wicket.
“Ben won’t be the only good player who has ever got dropped and he has an England future, there’s no doubt about it, because he’s a very talented guy with a lot ahead of him,” said Cook. “When I chatted to him he said he thought he was a pretty decent player of spin, and he is, but he just has an issue which unfortunately has been found out quite quickly. That can happen in this part of the world in international cricket.
“He can go and address that and come again because he’s a very talented and exciting cricketer in all three forms. It’s just a blip in his career and will have to work at his game and he isn’t the first person who has to do that and he won’t be the last.”
On the challenge of levelling the series here in Mumbai, to make it 1-1 with two Tests to play, Cook added: “The guys are in good spirits. We’ve played some good cricket on this tour so far.
“Yes, we lost the last Test. But there were some aspects of it and over the last 10 days of cricket where we’ve played well and have managed to put India under pressure – certainly in the first game.
“It will be great to get ahead of this game early, like we did in the draw in Rajkot, and then put some pressure on India.”