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Michael Vaughan: Confident England to finish off fragile India

Will Alastair Cook be celebrating again in Nagpur?

"England are on a high and they'll be determined to secure the victory in what will be something bigger than the 2011 Ashes win."

England are in buoyant mood after taking the lead in the series with two resounding victories and Michael Vaughan sees no reason why Alastair Cook's men can't round off the Test series with another win in Nagpur

India have made a few changes for this Test but it will take more than personnel changes to lift them out of this rut.

I just think that, since of the advent of the IPL and all it brings, India have lost their spark in Test cricket. When they come up against a team with the skill levels and confidence of England at the moment, they just can't compete.

I always look at fielding as the barometer for what shape a team is in, and India are the most uninterested team in the field I've seen for a long time. The players are playing for themselves and you don't get stats for good fielding.

The lack of team ethos is also evident in the batting - even when one player is making some runs, they're not developing partnerships. If you win the toss on a good wicket you need to be scoring 400 and India haven't been doing that.

Of course, none of this should not detract from England's performance which has been incredible. It's not as if they've had any luck with the toss; they've had to do it the hard way.

Confidence

Alastair Cook has led the way with his brilliant performances, but virtually everything has gone right since the first Test defeat. Pietersen in Mumbai; bringing Monty back; Compton has been solid at the top of the order; even Ian Bell's knock on his return to the side was important.

One to 11 in the England side are full of confidence, but I don't think you could say the same for any Indian player. Pujara was the standout but he didn't score in the last Test and too many players have disappointed.

England are on a high and they'll be determined to secure the victory in what will be something bigger than the 2011 Ashes win. Beating what was a functional Australian side was one thing, but beating India in their own back yard - from being 1-0 down - will be some achievement. No England captain has ever started so well, that's for sure.

My bets

The pitch looks good from what I've seen, but I'm still sure we'll see a positive result and, at 3.55/2, I have to side with England to win again.

I just don't see how India are going to bowl England out. Khan has been a major disappointment and the England batsmen appear to have worked Ashwin out, while Ohja is nothing more than solid.

The top batsmen markets have been difficult to call during the series, but if pushed I'd go with Pietersen, at 4.57/2 or above, for England and Pujara, at 5.04/1 or better for the home team. 

KP is a big game player, while one bad game for Pujara doesn't mean he's out of form. You can still be 'in the zone' which will help turn a 20 or 30 into a big score.

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11 December 2012

The Ashes

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