England v India First ODI: Superior bowling nous makes tourists the call

Alex Hales
Hales may be worth a top runscorer punt
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Ed Hawkins previews a potential thriller from Trent Bridge on Thursday and decides to side with India

"England have not faced the quality of Kuldeep and Chahal before. They took 33 wickets between them against South Africa"

England v India
Thursday 12 July 12.30
TV: live on Sky Sports


Time for the real England to stand up

Despite being world No.1 the England ODI outfit remain something of a curiosity. What is the more significant formguide? A harrowing loss to minnows Scotland when they leaked 371? Or a 5-0 whitewash of Australia. A reserve Aussie outfit at that.

As discussed in the series preview here, there is a suspicion that they remain susceptible in the field. No matter how good the wicket or how fast the outfield, no established nation should be razed by an associate batting unit.

But boy they can bat. Their run rate is the highest of any team in the last three years by almost half a run. England will expect to chase 350 or a little more with ease. Which is just as well. Their chances of doing so will be boosted by the return of Ben Stokes, the all-rounder.

In terms of who he comes in for, Sam Curran will make way having been in possession from the victory over the Aussies at Old Trafford.

England are likely to shuffle their bowlers. David Willey and Liam Plunkett will bid to join Liam Plunkett in the attack.

India miss Bumrah

India have suffered a blow with the loss of Jasprit Bumrah, the No.1-rated bowler in the world. But they would have been cheered by the way their bowlers hung in there to take the T20 series.

In Bumrah's absence Bhuv Kumar will lead the attack. In terms of pace, India must decide to go with Umesh Yadav's speed, Sidd Kaul's meanness or Shardul Thakar's potential.

There is another option. An army of spinners. India may decide to play three of them with Kuldeep Yadav and Yuz Chahal certainties. Axar Patel could join in.

There are no worries about their batting. KL Rahul's emergence has given them a powerful look and with the likes of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma making India the second most prolific team in the world runs are guaranteed.

Runs in the offing

With the second-innings scheduled to be done by 20.15 this is a day-dusk game. The last five first-innings scores read: 481/444/286/349/287/182. Those last two scores suggest a belter of a batting wicket. They were both by England - against Australia this summer and Pakistan two years ago. There is no real edge on the toss. Of 27 day ODI, 15 have been won by the chaser. Prices of around [2.1] for 350 or more first-dig runs might be worth an interest.

Test of spin for both teams

This match - and probably the series - may well be decided by how well England play India's wrist spinners. It is a fascinating battle.

History suggests England will do well. Since the 2015 World Cup no team has scored more runs and at a faster rate than them against wrist spinners. But then England have not faced the quality of Kuldeep and Chahal before. They took 33 wickets between them against South Africa.

It is also true, however, that Kuldeep and Chahal have not faced the quality of this England batting line-up before.
England are [1.89] with India [2.1]. The odds reflect the above conundrum. We will side with India before our first look as they a slight value on the basis that their bowling numbers are superior.

Hales has brilliant record

Jonny Bairstow and Alex Hales both blitzed centuries at Trent Bridge last time out. Hales took honours on his home ground from No 3. Bairstow gets an 11/4 quote with Betfair Sportsbook with opening partner Jason Roy 7/1. Hales is 4/1 and that could well be considered a bet considering he smashed 171 against Pakistan. Joe Root, in need of a score, is also 7/1.

Embarrassment of riches for India

Kohli (40) and Suresh Raina (42) have ground form of sorts with those scores way back in 2014. Kohli is 13/5 and Raina 13/2. Rahul catches the eye at 9/2 considering his terrific form in the T20s. Rohit, fresh from a century, is 10/3.

Ed Hawkins P-L

2018: +11.51pts
2017: +12pts
2016: +18.1pts
2015: +38pts
2014: +31.5pts
2013: +25pts
Based only on available prices. Does not include back-to-lay in-running match advice or commission rate. Figures 2013-2016 on 1pt level stakes. New points system (0.5pt-5) introduced for 2017. Includes Hawk-Eye stats column p-l

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