England v India
Sunday 17 July, 11:00
TV: live on Sky Sports
England hit back
England have hit back to level the series at 1-1. They did so in surprising circumstances. Their supposed strongest suit, their batting, failed again. Their reserve bowling unit produced a superb effort to defend a moderate 246.
The hosts have been back-slapping for managing such a total. And, to be fair, a bit of credit is due. From 148 for six after the top order had been dismantled they looked like going under 200.
It's curious as to how players like Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root and Ben Stokes were so aggressive and positive under Brendon McCullum, but can now barely get it off the square. Liam Livingstone's poor returns are also a worry.
Moeen Ali and David Willey were the heroes with the bat. Moeen top scored again and Willey's 41 and one for 27 would have ordinarily won man of the match but for Reece Topley's outstanding six-fer.
Craig Overton or Brydon Carse may be vulnerable if England reckon the surface takes spin. Matt Parkinson could be a useful addition on his home ground if avauilable.
Probable XI: Roy, Bairstow, Root, Stokes, Buttler, Livingstone, Moeen, Willey, Carse, Parkinson, Topley
India can tweak
India should have wrapped up the series with a game to play. Chasing is their specialism (ten wins in their previous 11) and getting rolled for just 146 was an embarrassment.
They appear to be in transition with their white-ball top order. Or, rather, they are beginning to come round to the idea that Virat Kohli might be holding them back. Kohli failed again and he is keeping out Shreyas Iyer who has made an excellent start to his ODI career.
Before game two we raised Mohammed Shami being too high at No 8. And although Shami did well with 23 to keep India's slim hopes alive after Hardik Pandya and Ravi Jadeja got them going again, the balance of the XI can't be described as right. Swapping Prasidh Krishna for Shardul Thakur might not be the worst idea in the world. Or they could pick spinner Axar Patel.
Possible XI: Rohit, Dhawan, Kohli, Pant, Yadav, Hardik, Jadeja, Axar, Shami, Bumrah, Chahal
The Old Trafford surface has been good for batting in the Blast this summer with three first-innings out of five producing scores of 170 or more. And there have been some big totals in ODI, too, recently.
In the summers of 2019 and 2020 there were six first-innings which produced totals of 290 or more. The run rate in all innings during that sequence is 5.61. So 280 should be the bear minimum. We might get 1.9110/11 on the inning runs market here.
Sportsbook are giving little away with their runs specials. Both teams to score 300 at 6/4 is mean. It's happened twice in the study period. Bet the Sportsbook markets here.
India can chase big
A flat surface is what England have been waiting (hoping) for. So far The Oval and Lord's, they would argue, have proved tricky. On something resembling a road in Manchester they have the opportunity to return to their brutal best.
The match odds market agrees. England are 1.855/6 with India 2.166/5. We're not sure we're on board with that pre-toss. These sides are well-matched and India are a pick on the basis that this looks a choice affair.
We can be cannier than that. On a flat one, India's batters in the chase should be more reliable. Keep an eye on big odds if they bowl first at the break. England could well struggle to contain and India can flip the odds. In 2020 England couldn't defend 300 against Australia.
We're not ruling out England getting after 320-330 here, either. It's time for them to return to their reputation. Bet the match odds here
Rohit Sharma smashed 140 from 113 balls in the World Cup on this ground against Pakistan in 2019. It won him the match gong. He is a boosted with Sportsbook to 11/4 for top India bat and 15/2 for another award.
Bairstow notched a ton in the last outing against the Aussies. He is 16/5 for honours with the bat for England and he gets an 8/1 quote for the player of the match.
For the latter market, big bats could be the way to go. Root and Stokes are 8/1 and 9/1 respectively. Jason Roy, in need of a score, is 10s, likewise Shikhar Dhawan.
England v SA ODI series preview on Cricket...Only Bettor