Well England lead the series 2-1 going into the fourth and final test and being honest given the excitement at times during the first three tests a fifth game would have been more than welcome. England have gone from panic and constant echoes of “they can’t play spin” and “India don’t lose at home” but after a disastrous 1st test England have totally turned it round. India must now look at themselves in the mirror and what is looking back isn’t nice at all.Compton has settled into the England setup
For the first time in 21 years England could win a test series in India, only 2 captains have managed it before – Cook, having helped patch things back up with KP, could go down in English cricket folklore by becoming the third. David Gower (now hosting Sky’s coverage) led England to a 2-1 win back in 84-85, it speaks a lot that no English captain had managed a series win in India since. In fact India had not lost a home series to anyone since 2004 when the Aussies came and won.
India prides on talking themselves up with a solid home record – with a pretty horrific record on the road, India have always defended themselves by falling back on their impressive home record. But India cannot adapt and seeing England play the conditions better has put them into a panic – both England seamers, Finn and Anderson, would walk into an Indian team currently devoid of a paceman to trouble any of the batsman. The combo of Panesar and Swann has worked very well both have differing style and even with the new ball Panesar has caught batters out with his faster ball. Ohja has been decent but Ashwin has proved himself more with bat than ball in the last test.
Contrast the good form of Cook, KP and Prior with the bat as well as Compton who has adapted wellAshwin will need to take wickets rather than just scoring runs
to new and testing conditions on debut. India have seen Pujara lose touch last time while form questions continue over Kohli and Sachin. Openers Sehwag and Gambhir have looked questionable also since the 2nd test. India have chopped and change and both Singhs and Khan have been dropped. Their replacements come in along with the pressure on under-fire captain MS Dhoni. England’s only worry is the fitness of Finn and who to replace him with. Dinda will likely fill in for Khan, Rahane should see a place in the batting line up.
It must be a worry for India that neither Bell or Patel got set in any of the tests. Bell is less likely to do so in the 4th test as he has just looked in need of some time and a lot of luck. Patel on other hand just needs a bit of luck; the shots are there and he can play spin, he had a better go in the third test. If Compton can again see off the new ball, KP can come in and complement Cook by seeing off the middle overs of a worn ball.
The pitch in Nagpur has being another case of batting first and getting a score up before the pitch turns much later by day 4 or 5. It has been dried out so likely will spin in time and Panesar may even find something before then. All 3 tests here saw a result. Interesting that both the South Africa and Australian tests looked like clear result pitches. England must keep positive as such and not just look to keep the series win safe but also try and win the final test. Perhaps what has separated England from their hosts is they have learned from their losses and turned it around.
India: 1 Gautam Gambhir, 2 Virender Sehwag, 3 Cheteshwar Pujara, 4 Sachin Tendulkar, 5 Virat Kohli, 6 Ravindra Jadeja/ Ajinkya Rahane 7 MS Dhoni (capt/wk), 8 R Ashwin, 9 Ishant Sharma/Parwinder Awana, 10 Ashok Dinda, 11 Pragyan Ojha
England: 1 Alastair Cook (capt), 2 Nick Compton, 3 Jonathan Trott, 4 Kevin Pietersen, 5 Ian Bell, 6 Samit Patel, 7 Matt Prior (wk), 8 Graeme Swann, 9 Steven Finn/Graham Onions, 10 James Anderson, 11 Monty Panesar
Betting: India 2.5 Draw 3.25 England 3.25
I priced this up myself earlier in week without accounting for Indian bias and i went India 2.75, Draw 3.7, England 2.375. England again look value to win. I have taken the 9/4 on offer but as usual expect them to trade higher with the usual draw being backed in early when the pitch looks a lot better than it will later in the test..
Again I like that the England openers price is higher than India’s, boylesports offer evens in a 2 way openers bet. As usual I expect old reliable KP and Cook to do well and watch out for Prior and Patel coming in with low lines. That any Indian batsman can be backed at 4/1 or higher in their market shows how inconsistent they have been with bat; Pujara could be one to call if getting back into stride. I will again trust in England’s opening pair and go over 28.5 runs with skybet
Anderson is 9/2 for top bowler and worth a look as value in market; he bowls plenty of overs and is likely to get a bit from this pitch early doors. The Indian bowling market doesn’t present much value and is best left alone. England can also be backed with betvictor at 11/10 for the 1st innings lead.
One more interesting bet is with Ladbrokes KP -2.5 versus Sachin is 5/6 that looks stand out in terms of value