We come into the 3rd Test with the series squared at 1-1, India dominated the 1st test but in the 2nd, the introduction of Panesar and the revitalised Kevin Pietersen saw England right.
The Pitch could be less spin friendly than the two previous tests. Dhoni has again asked for a dust bowl for his spinners but rumours are the groundsman proud of his work will prepare a pitch with a bit for the seamer. If anything Kolkata should see the seamers having much more of a say than we have seen in previous two tests. Bets will have to be held off pretty much until the pitch report is confirmed.
Ishant Sharma should return for Harbaijan to return to a two-seamer option for India in this test. There are of course questions over the demise of Tendulkar but he is unlikely to be dropped by management. Finn will likely fill in for Broad who has produced little or nothing in the two tests so far and needs to go back and get his game back in the New Year with the county season. Bell is back from leave and should fill back in for Bairstow as it is likely Patel is kept for his playing of spin and use as a fifth bowler.KP will want to repeat his 2nd Test showing
There are questions over both Bell and Trott at the moment so they will need to show something with the bat. KP and Cook complemented each other well in the last test, while Compton showed glimpses of being a solid opener who can bat away for a period in tests.
Light has been talked about by many but floodlights will be used so overs should not be lost to bad light. The forecast is clear for the 5 days. Previous Eden Garden tests have shown some big 1st innings scores and that could be case as pitch wears slowly. There should be enough in the pitch by day 4 for the bowlers to trouble the batsmen, draws have not been that common with 2 draws in the last 11 games here.
Betting: India 2.3 Draw 2.75 England 4.33
Match odds – the draw is likely to go shorter and may even touch odds on. India look too short; this test is a lot closer judging by the last test and with England now looking much more balanced in the bowling; Panesar has proven the most useful of the spinners as he has been able to bowl the faster ball which has caught out a few of the Indian batters. England 10/3 is value if wanting to punt from Day 1 for the final result but it should go higher.
England openers are 2.2 with a few bookies and that looks value as Compton is looking decent while Sehwag and Gambhir both have their issues that doesn’t justify England being the much better price. I like KP to do well coming in at 3 and as usual I will be siding with him and Cook to have good innings. I may back Compton once he has seen off the new ball. Trott and Bell are probably ones to oppose batting for England.
Kohli has been a top batsman this year in other forms of the game but has yet to show that in tests. Sachin is an unders back the way he has batted this season with an average just above 20 in 2012. Pujura has looked the most reliable batsman and its hard not to be backing him to do well.
Ohja and Panesar look the best bowling options but the prices do reflect that. Hills have the England openers line at 27.5 and I have taken that pre match. I may look at performance betting on bet365 based on some of my thoughts in this blog.