Five reasons to take terrific price on England winning Test series in India
Sam Barnard | 9 November 2016
Most of the talk ahead of England’s Test series against India suggests that the tourists will be firmly up against it in their five matches across November and December.
Alastair Cook and co could only draw 1-1 with lowly-ranked Bangladesh most recently, and now come up against the top team in the world, who many are predicting can secure a 5-0 whitewash (4/1 with Coral to do so).
However, our cricket writers believe there is some hope for Trevor Bayliss’ team, and that their Test series odds of 9/1 to win look highly enticing.
Read on to find out why England can upset heavy 1/7 favourites India on away turf…
England have done it here before
India may be the number one ranked Test team after winning each of their last four series’ with Sri Lanka, South Africa, West Indies and New Zealand – the latter three of which were to nil.
However, they have lost their last three with England, including the 2012/13 series in India, and Cook’s men are just 10 points behind them in the standings and above all of the Men in Blue’s recent opponents.
The last time England visited here, they triumphed 2-1 after four matches (33/1 to repeat that feat), despite losing the first by nine-wickets. Heroics from the likes of Cook, Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar ensured the victory.
Another win in India would perhaps be up with England’s Ashes 2005 achievement over Australia, so can they do it again?
Sharma to miss out on entire series
One of a few plus points to take from England’s Test draw with Bangladesh was that they managed to deal with their middle order and below with relative ease, and India have been hit with the news that Rohit Sharma will miss the entire series.
The 29-year-old, who can bat anywhere from number three to six, was in good touch against New Zealand, where he hit scores of 68no, 82 and 51no, and he will be sorely missed.
Sharma’s thigh injury means he is out for around three months, and he’ll struggle to take part in the ODI series after the New Year too.
Tourists’ top order to prevail
Due to India’s dusty and slow pitches, big scores are expected and the country just happens to be a nation who captain Cook (average of over 54 against them) has played some of his best ever cricket against.
Of his 29 Test hundreds, five have been against the Men in Blue with three of them being in India including his first way back in 2006. The opener’s highest ever score of 294 also came against this opposition, and he is 11/4 to be top England series batsman.
Cook will of course be hoping to lead from the front again and is likely to be aided by Ben Duckett, who played a fine innings of 56 in the last innings against Bangladesh where he showed a great variation of skill and what he’s capable of.
Together with Joe Root, who will be determined to improve after a relatively quiet series for him, at number three, England’s top order should be able to get the visitors off on a roll.
England’s spin variation the key
As mentioned above, Swann and Panesar were terrific with the ball the last time England travelled to India, and they have a number of spin options again.
Although with not as much experience, the variation of leg-breaker Adil Rashid, off-spinners Moeen Ali and Gareth Batty as well as slow-left armer Zafar Ansari, they should have enough to trouble the hosts’ batsmen. On top of that, all of them can bat too.
They all impressed, with Ali (11/4 favourite to be top England series bowler) even taking a five-for, and with even more experience under their belts can play a huge part in the upcoming series.
Surprise return to fitness for Anderson
In a surprising twist ahead of the series, England have been boosted by the news that highest ever wicket taker James Anderson is to join the Test squad and could be fit in time for the second match – after before being ruled out for all five.
While pace bowling is not set to play a huge part in India, he does have a terrific record over the nation having averaged 26.93 and taken three five-wicket hauls from 19 matches against them.
Two of the latter came in India and, with the similarly styled Ben Stokes impressing in Bangladesh, there is certainly hope that Lancashire’s ‘King of Swing’ can deliver here again.
As well as taking a whopping 82 wickets against India, he also registered his highest ever Test total with the bat against them too – with 81.
England’s Tests in India
November 9-13: First Test, Rajkot (04:00 GMT)
November 17-21: Second Test, Visakhapatnam (04:00 GMT)
November 26-30: Third Test, Mohali (04:00 GMT)
December 8-12: Fourth Test, Mumbai (Wankhede Stadium) (04:00 GMT)
December 16-20: Fifth Test, Chennai (04:00 GMT)
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Think England have what it takes to beat India? Who do you think will claim the Test series? Let us know in the comments section below.