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    Jonny Bairstow is under pressure in his 100th Test
Jonny Bairstow is under pressure in his 100th Test
Jonny Bairstow, by Getty Images

Jonny Bairstow is under pressure in his 100th Test

Jonny Bairstow, the struggling England batsman, appears to be fighting to save his Test career as the fifth and final match against India begins in Dharamsala on Thursday.

Bairstow will be looking to win his 100th cap as England, already 3-1 down in the series, try to salvage some pride in the high and chilly Himalayan mountain town.

Ravichandran Ashwin, the Indian spinner, is also in line to play his 100th Test, having already passed the milestone of 500 Test wickets during the series.

Former wicketkeeper Bairstow is in the team as a specialist batsman since Ben Foakes took over wicketkeeping duties. However, he has only scored 170 runs at an average of 21.25 during the series.

The 34-year-old has struggled since his return to the team last year after breaking his leg in a freak golfing accident.

He has played 10 Tests since his recovery, but has not scored a century and has a highest score of only 38 in eight innings in India.

Former England captain Michael Vaughan wrote in his column for the UK’s Telegraph newspaper that reaching 100 caps is a great triumph of resilience and sentiment.

Vaughan's comments suggest that while the player deserves recognition for reaching 100 caps, his recent performances have been lacking. However, he also noted that the player in question has not played well enough across the 10 Tests he’s been back in the side, especially in India.

Bairstow is known for his aggressive batting style and is a crucial player at No. 5 in England's lineup, which is known for its attacking 'Bazball' style of cricket.

Bairstow displayed signs of a return to form in the fourth Test but failed to convert his good starts, reaching 38 and 30 in each innings respectively, into substantial scores.

Former captain Joe Root also encountered difficulties in the first three Tests but found his form and scored a sublime century in the fourth on a challenging wicket.

James Anderson, the veteran seamer, is just two wickets away from achieving the milestone of 700 wickets, making him the third bowler to do so after Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan (800) and the late Australian spin legend Shane Warne (708).

England may make changes to their side, with fast bowler Ollie Robinson's place in jeopardy after going wicketless in Ranchi.

The weather in Dharamsala could play a significant role in the match. The picturesque ground, surrounded by snow-capped peaks at an altitude of 1,317m, adds to the beauty of the game.

There is a risk of sleet and temperatures could drop to 1°C on Thursday.

India's pace spearhead, Jasprit Bumrah, will return after being rested, but the focus will be on Ashwin (37), who made his debut in 2011.

Ashwin has 507 Test victims, second only to Anil Kumble’s 619 wickets on India’s all-time list.

India won by five wickets in Ranchi. They have not lost a home series since 2012, when Alastair Cook's England won 2-1.

The series has seen the emergence of new talent, such as Dhruv Jurel and Sarfaraz Khan, in the absence of Virat Kohli and the injured KL Rahul.

Batsman Devdutt Padikkal is set to make his debut in place of Rajat Patidar, who has managed just 63 runs in six innings in his maiden series.

Yashasvi Jaiswal, the left-handed opener, leads the series in batting with 655 runs, which includes two double centuries.

Meanwhile, England spinner Tom Hartley is the leading wicket-taker with 20. Bumrah, Ravindra Jadeja, and Ashwin have all taken 17 wickets each.

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