Ed Hawkins previews the first of three matches and says the tourists have the edge in the opener in Manchester on Tuesday...
"The likes of Virat Kohli, Rohit, Dhawan, MS Dhoni, and Hardik Pandya can match England for batting power. They are probably the only international team capable of doing so"
England v India
Tuesday 3 July 17.30
TV: live on Sky Sports
England in good shape
England beat Australia without a worry. That could be epitaph of the summer so far. Their latest stroll came in a one-off T20 on Wednesday.
The hosts looked like a million bucks rather than the one which had lost four of its last five T20s and was ranked No 5 in the world. That was largely due to another blitz from Jos Buttler.
Buttler, promoted to open, hit 61 from 30 balls and England didn't look back. They easily busted 200 and then let scoreboard pressure do the rest. There was only a slight wobble when Aaron Finch cut loose.
We would expect England to field the same XI here. That means Ben Stokes will have to wait. He is getting game time for Durham and has been included in the ODI squad to face India once the T20 series has finished.
India have lose the services of Jasprit Bumrah, who has fractured a thumb. It robs them of one of their death bowlers and their top-ranked pacer.
Umesh Yadav or Sidd Kaul will replace him. Yadav, who has played only two T20s, is a tyro and is all about taking wickets. Kaul, who has played one game fewer, is more in the Bumrah mould.
As a key part of the Sunrisers mean bowling attack, he is capable of bowling with the new ball, at the death and keeping it tight. Deepak Chahar, the Super Kings player, is Bumrah's replacement in the squad.
The tourists have other injury problems. Washington Sundar is out of the tour with a foot problem so all-rounder Krunal Pandya has been called up.
With the bat they must choose between three openers - KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma were all excellent in the hammerings of Ireland. If Rahul or Rohit miss out they could pressure Suresh Raina for a spot in the middle order.
Pitch looks fair
There have been only six T20s at Old Trafford in ten years so the innings lists aren't that reliable an indicator. England made 135-7 against Pakistan in September 2016 and the year before 191 against New Zealand. They won the first one. In county cricket's Blast it has been pretty good for batting. The first-innings average is 160. The last three scores in that competition were 174-176-152.
Spin could trouble hosts
England are favourites at [1.74] with India [2.28]. It's not a surprise to see them installed as jollies but it is a relatively simple exercise to make a case for them getting beat.
On form and personnel India are comfortably as good as England (probably better in fact). India are rated as the No 2 team in the world. Of their last 14 they have lost twice. England have lost eight in the same period.
The likes of Virat Kohli, Rohit, Dhawan, MS Dhoni, and Hardik Pandya can match England for batting power. They are probably the only international team capable of doing so. But where they really have the edge is with the ball.
Yuv Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav are exceptional talents and their wrist spin could cause consternation in the England ranks. Indeed, we wouldn't be surprised to see India attack England with an army of spin.
Buttler's run continues
Buttler has now top scored seven times in a row when he has been opening (for Rajasthan Royals or England). It is arguable, then, that prices around the [3.75] mark might not be short enough. On his home ground Buttler should feel pretty confident, too. Of course the run can't keep going and at some stage Jason Roy, his opening partner, could well be value.
Is it Kohli time?
After failing to notch top-bat honours against Ireland when promoted to open in the second T20, Kohli could do with a score. It could be said he is due to cop considering he has a hit rate of 37 per cent in this market. But he won't be opening here. If Rahul does get picked he could be worth following as we believe in a few months he will be a superstar.
Ed Hawkins P-L
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
Back India to win at [2.28] (2pts)