England finally on front foot ahead of fifth Test with India
A draw at the Kennington Oval will be enough to see England win their first Test series in nearly a year, since August 2013 in the Ashes on home soil. A share of the spoils in London, coincidentally at the same ground against Australia back then, is the most likely result with Coral at 6/5.
However, England will want to build on their impressive innings and 54 run victory at Old Trafford and make it three wins on the bounce in this fifth and final Test against India, as they lead 2-1 after being behind. They are 13/10 to beat them again in this match. The visitors, meanwhile are 9/2 to upset the hosts and tie the series.
Yorkshire rising star batsman Joe Root, who top scored for England in the last Test with 77 (5/1 to do so again), has spoken confidentially ahead of the Oval encounter. “You come out of two games where we’ve played some really strong cricket and there’s a lot of confidence,” he said.
“A lot of guys are putting in some really strong performances and as a side we’ve pulled really tight. We needed to do that after [losing at] Lord’s, it obviously wasn’t a very good performance as a team, but I think we’ve done that exceptionally well.
“I think the key now is to go into Friday [August 15th] and continue that, to build on what we’ve done so far and remember this is just the start of where we want to be.
“We can’t rest on just two Test wins, we have to capitalise on what we’ve started and really cement what we have done to take this series home.”
Ian Bell, meanwhile, who hit 58 in the fourth Test, is in fine form this series having also hit a 150, and is involved in an enhanced Coral special. The Warwickshire batsman is 5/1 to top score in the first innings for England (normal market price 7/2), and is 14/1 to do so and England win.
In the bowling artillery, England can call on the likes of James Anderson (9/4 to get the best first innings figures), Stuart Broad (5/2) and former part-time spinner Moeen Ali (4/1), who continues to highly impress with the ball.
Broad broke his nose in the last match, after a sickening blow that saw the ball go through his helmet visa, after the seamer had just hit two sixes, but should be fit to feature, but wearing a face mask. On Twitter, the gallant paceman wrote: “Little bit sore this morning but not too bad! Doc did a great job with the stitches. On to The Oval! (With a mask).”
For India, there was virtually nothing to shout about at Old Trafford, having been skittled out for paltry scores of just 152 and 161.
Ravichandran Ashwin and captain M.S. Dhoni were the only names to do well with the bat, though, and are 20/1 and 7/1 respectively to top score for their side in the first innings.