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Michael Vaughan: England in good shape but India to strike back

Gautam Gambhir is a consistent scorer at the top of the order

"If England win the toss and bat first, they'll have a chance so I wouldn't dissuade a back-to-lay at 2.3611/8 but on a turning wicket I'll have to lean towards India, who are trading at 1.738/11."

Having tipped up England to win the first ODI at 2.47/5, Michael Vaughan is expecting another strong showing from the tourists, but believes a spinning Kochi wicket will favour India in the end

The pitch in Rajkot for the first game was a belter and India really should have chased the total down, but this England team has got real zest about them the moment - and the winning habit.

It's the strongest one-day batting line-up England have had for years, combining finesse and power with quality right down the order. Bell, Cook and Pietersen is a fantastic top three, then you've got the one-day wizard that is Eoin Morgan as well as Patel and Kieswetter who are solid one-day performers.

That being said, I think Alastair Cook's men might find it tough going in Kochi. It can get really hot and humid over there, making batting very difficult. The last time England played there, MS Dhoni was batting with an ice pack around his neck so you can imagine how tough it was for the England lads!

The forecast isn't actually too bad - BBC says 31c and around 60% humidity - but I'm hearing that India have asked for a spinning wicket so that will give the hosts the another key advantage. While James Tredwell - who is an underrated bowler by the way - did a terrific job in Rajkot, England don't have enough spin options in the absence of Graeme Swann.

If England win the toss and bat first, they'll have a chance so I wouldn't dissuade a back-to-lay at 2.3611/8 but on a turning wicket I'll have to lean towards India, who are trading at 1.738/11.

This should be another 300-plus pitch but if you're playing the runs market, it's worth playing safe and going for 275 or more if you can get better than 2.01/1.

As I said last time out, the top batsmen in these one-dayers will generally come from the top three so I'll stick with Gautam Gambhir for the hosts who looked good in Rajkot for his half-century. He is trading at 5.14/1.

Given the humid conditions I've talked about, the England bet has to be the man that doesn't sweat, Alastair Cook! He is available at 4.216/5.

***

Michael has announced he will be taking part in a UK-wide bike ride to raise funds for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation and the Cricket Foundation's Chance to Shine initiative.

He will leading a team of charity fund-raisers on a 12-day tour of England cricket grounds to coincide with the One Day International series against Australia from September 6-17.

Click here for more details

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14 January 2013

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