Ed Hawkins expects the tourists to run MS Dhoni's men close in the series market
"At some stage during the series batsmen will get hold of the bowlers and shake them like a terrier does a rag doll"
India v England
Start time: 06.30GMT
TV: Live on Sky Sports 1
India are in shabby shape. Beset with internal problems, apparently, their form has been woeful, culminating in a embarrassing 2-1 reverse at home to their rivals Pakistan. It was a series they should have won. So it is difficult to feel confident about the hosts. Virender Sehwag has been jettisoned and his ODI career could be over while the bowling looks weak, even if it performed okay statistically against Pakistan. Much depends on strike man Ishant Sharma, whose seven wickets came at 15 each. India must decide whether to go with three spinners in Ravi Ashwin, Amit Mishra and Ravi Jadeja or mix it up with Shami Ahmed or Bhuvneshwar Kumar, both pacers.
The tourists have not impressed, either. They have suffered consecutive defeats in the warm-ups, first to India A and then to Delhi. It has not been the best of starts for Ashley Giles, the new ODI coach. Not only must he conquer a confidence-draining start, he must also convince his players they can win in India. No English side has won there since 1984. Still, the recent Test series triumph should help. Encouragingly, Kevin Pietersen and Stuart Broad are back to give much-needed class and experience to a squad with a green tinge, although the latter will only feature in the last two games.
India have not lost back-to-back home two-team series since 1987, while England have won one in seven attempts in the country and lost the last two by 5-0 scorelines. Still, the status quo has shifted over the last few months and we cannot blithely disregard England purely because conditions do not suit. There is a malaise about India at the moment which is troubling. India are 1.618/13 to win with England 2.747/4. Perhaps the soundest advice is to expect a close series and double up on a 3-2 correct scorefor either side with India at 3.4012/5 and England somewhere around the same price. Currently they are are 2.568/5 but we expect that to lengthen.
India are 1.784/5 with England 2.3811/8. We think England should trade lower than that, especially if they get to bat first on what looks a good wicket. India's top order was horrendous against Pakistan and it is unlikely they can be as bad again, however, so the toss is key. Indeed, most of India's batsmen have no fears against England, an almost cocky expectancy that they will score big - Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina and Virat Kohli stand out - and undoubtedly at some stage during the series they will get hold of the bowlers and shake them like a terrier does a rag doll. Don't be surprised if it is here.
This is a new stadium so no ground form to go on. If soils is anything to go by, and it is, the trend in the area is for runs. Big ones. Here are the last seven digs at the old ground for example (most recent first): 414/387/257/196/300/301/349. The average score overall is 277.
MS Dhoni averaged more than 200 against Pakistan while no other Indian could make 50. Dhoni hit 72 from 53 balls against Sri Lanka at the venue last time out in an epic total of 414 against Sri Lanka. Dhoni is 5.204/1 under Any Other. Raina is whopping value at 7.206/1.
Ian Bell has been the man in form and he looks certain to partner Alastair Cook in the opening berth. Bell hit 91 and 108 in the two tour matches. Bell is 4.407/2 along with Pietersen. Eoin Morgan is always value at 5.609/2.
India to win 3-2 at 3.40]