England v India Fourth Test Betting: Under-pressure tourists could be bounced out

All smiles: Cook, Anderson and Finn train at Old Trafford
All smiles: Cook, Anderson and Finn train at Old Trafford

Ed Hawkins says the all-change tourists are vulnerable on a bouncy deck at Old Trafford from Thursday, although he stresses England still have problems of their own...

"We go back to basics and ask ourselves: which side is most likely to take 20 wickets? Unquestionably that is England who have a pace attack which is in a different class to India."

Recommended Bet
Back England at 2.8615/8

England v India
Start time: 11:00
TV: live on Sky Sports 2

England have left outSteven Finn and in favour of Chris Jordan in what could be described as a baffling move. The Middlesex fast bowler has had problems with his run-up and rhythm - which saw him sent home from the Ashes tour - but he has been firing again for his county. He has a superior average and strike rate to James Anderson and Stuart Broad and was also the fastest English bowler to 50 Test wickets. Jordan's troubles at the Ageas Bowl will have been familiar to Finn. Liam Plunkett has been ruled out with an ankle injury. England areunchanged from the side that levelled the series in Southampton.

The decision to bring their biggest touring party could be about to pay dividends for coach Duncan Fletcher. With Ishant Sharma out of this Test - according to MS Dhoni - and Mohammad Shami dropped, Varun Aaron and Ravi Ashwin have been drafted in. Aaron, whose speed will be needed on a quick deck, has replaced Shami. The spinner, Ashwin, gets a game with the Old Trafford wicket expected to turn. Shikhar Dhawan, who failed in six consecutive innings, was dropped for Gautam Gambhir.

First-innings runs
There have been seven Tests played in the last ten years at Old Trafford, producing an average first-innings score of 379. Overall, the average is 329. The average second-innings score is 270 and, for a little further down the line, the highest total chased is 294. We are expecting a wicket which offers the quicks pace and bounce. Later on it should turn. There is a worry that India might not be able to cope with bounce. Pakistan, a team of similar breed, got rolled there in 2006. It has been relaid since then and turned 90 degrees but there was still evidence that the pacemen are they key in last year's Ashes Test when Peter Siddle, Ryan Harris and Mitchell Starc were potent.

Match odds
The draw is the 2.0621/20 favourite for this contest. That is because of a weather forecast which suggests the players will be on and off the field with rain delays. Admittedly it does not look good but it should not be forgotten the potential for lost time to be found again. England, therefore, are 2.8615/8, a hike from the 2.608/5 they were for Southampton. India are 5.905/1. So we go back to basics and ask ourselves: which side is most likely to take 20 wickets?

Unquestionably that is still England who have a pace attack which is better than India's, purely because they are without Ishant, their best bowler, and the number of changes they may make does not bode well. For instance, they will also have to rejig a slip cordon which has underperformed. By contrast, England will be buoyant following the crushing win in game three.

Old Trafford is a fortress for them in the last 10 years, winning five from seven and drawing twice. The tip should not be construed as 'England have won a game they are back to their best'. It is purely on price and they have many issues (Alastair Cook's captaincy, Sam Robson's form, a green wicketkeeper) still to resolve. It's just that they don't have as many as India and we are always wary of a skinny draw price purely because of a forecast.

Top England first-innings runscorer
Good news for Ian Bell, 5.24/1, and Alastair Cook, 5.39/2. They both shine at this venue. Bell has an average of 78 in the last ten years and is comfortably England's top scorer (550) over the period. Cook is third with 431 and an average of 53.8. Joe Root has one Test there but has a first-class average of 32, Buttler on his home ground averages 44 and Moeen Ali 19. They are 5.85/1, 5.309/2 and a big-looking 11.521/2 respectively.

Top India first-innings runscorer
Which India batsmen is best at getting on top of the ball and riding the bounce? Erm....pass. None of them really stand out, although it is worth pointing out that Ajinkya Rahane, who did the business for us last week, and Cheteshwar Pujara, have the most impressive techniques. They are 6.611/2 and 5.39/2 respectively. This market is best played with big numbers this week as we reckon the top-order could find the pace and bounce alien. Dhoni at 13.012/1, Jadeja at 17.016/1 and Ashwin, who has two Test centuries, at 30.029/1 are all great value. Have a nibble on each of them.

Recommended Bets
Back England at 2.8615/8
Back Dhoni, Jadeja and Ashwin for top India first-innings bat at 13.012/1, 17.016/1 and 30.029/1 respectively

Get a Free £/€20 Exchange Bet

  • Join Now - Open account using promo code VAL225
  • Bet - Place a £/€20 Bet on the Exchange
  • Earn We'll Refund You £/€20 If the Bet Loses
Bet now

T&Cs apply.

Discover the latest articles