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Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Big Chris leaves India trembling

World number 1 test team India play England in a four test series, starting this Thursday at the home of cricket. This mouth watering series will be played in front of a huge international audience, due to the popularity of the game in the sub continent and let’s not forget the added spice of Sachin Tendulkar, in what is likely to be his last tour of England searching for his 100th international century.

The last time both teams met on English soil in 2007, a close rain affected three match series was won 1-0 by India.

India arrive in England on the back of a 1-0, three match series victory in the West Indies (with a number of first choice players missing) and under the guidance of former England coach Duncan Fletcher.

For England, the summer really starts here after the dour 1-0 victory over Sri Lanka. The question is: Can England use home advantage to rise to the challenge of beating arguably the best assembled batting line-up in World cricket and reach the summit of the ICC Test rankings?

England would seem to have several factors in their favour for the series, the early swinging conditions with batsmen still adjusting to the vagaries of the infamous slope at Lords, plus the English-style pitches at Trent Bridge and Edgbaston will play into the hands of England’s seam attack. India don’t appear to have had a meticulous preparation for the series with only a three day match against Somerset where they performed poorly, Duncan Fletcher may be assuming that his experience in coaching England for several years already gives them enough of a tactical edge but it could take time for the team to acclimatise. Adding to India’s problems is the injury of Vivender Sehwag who is likely to miss the first two tests whilst continuing to recover from a shoulder injury, this coupled with Fletcher’s teams tending to start slowly, especially on foreign soil, means England have the chance to get off to a flyer.

Both teams’ strength comes in the form of their batting line-ups with strong openers and middle orders. Alistair Cook and Jonathan Trott are difficult to get away from the crease and have been in impervious test form for the last year or so meanwhile for India Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Gautam Gambhir all averaging over fifty in test format. The strong batting along with the changeable British weather is likely to mean that the series will be close and there could be a couple of drawn matches if the bowling attacks aren’t in top form, picking a top batsman especially for the Indians is a tough prospect and the likely odds offer no stand out value.

In terms of bowling Chris Tremlett is the man in form for England with 15 wickets in the series against the Sri Lankans and has previous form against India taking 13 wickets in his debut series in the 2007, he has vastly improved since and can trouble them again with his extra bounce, so take the 3/1 available for top England bowler.

As we think the series could be a tight affair the key to winning lies in a quick start and England will have the advantage at Lords, combine this with their strong desire to reach the plateau of the ICC Test rankings and we think the value lies in backing England to win overall, starting with a win in the first test.


England to win the series at 5/4
England to win the 1st Test at 9/4
Chris Tremlett as top England bowler 3/1


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