England v India 3rd Test Betting: Series over unless tourists bat first

Ben Stokes
Ben Stokes could return in Saturday's third test against India
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Ed Hawkins hopes for a better performance from India at Trent Bridge from Saturday but he's unlikely to get it if the toss goes against them...

"The movement in the air and off the pitch India are being exposed to seems extravagant to them, but their batsmen should be capable of more. It’s the sort of performance you expect from an associate"

England v India
Saturday 18 August, 11:00
TV: live on Sky Sports

Stokes set to return for England

England are two to the good with three to play, grateful that India's hopelessness against the moving ball has meant their own weaknesses have not been tested. Indeed, they can now call on Ben Stokes if they wish, the all-rounder missing the Lord's win because of his trial for affray.

Stokes was found not guilty and he was immediately called back to the squad. How they make room for him is a different sort of trial. Chris Woakes, whose century confirmed England's dominance in game two, looks certain to keep his place after replacing Stokes.

That means that one from Sam Curran, Jos Buttler or Adil Rashid could get the chop. It would be harsh on Curran, who produced a man of the match display at Edgbaston. Buttler has had a lean time with the bat and Jonny Bairstow could take the gloves. Rashid looks the most vulnerable, however. He has bowled just 12 overs in the series.

England should be wary of filling their XI with too many all-rounders who give them options in seaming and swinging conditions. They won't listen, though. It's exactly the sort of selection they make at home and then wonder why they can't win away.

India are in a mess

India have been desperately disappointing. Ranked as the No 1 side in the world they arrived in England with hopes of cementing superiority with a series win in testing, alien conditions. But they have been, frankly, pathetic.

To be rolled for 107 and 130 at Headquarters was unacceptable, even if they got the worse of conditions. And, yes, we know that the sort of movement in the air and off the pitch they are being exposed to seems extravagant to them, but their batsmen should be capable of more. It's the sort of performance so far you expect from an associate.

In terms of selection, India looked to have it about right for Lord's. They recalled Chet Pujara and dropped Shikhar Dhawan. And they found room for the extra spinner in Kuldeep Yadav.

The innings and 159-run beating now threatens more changes, which will only lead to more insecurity. Umesh Yadav, the pacer, could be expected to return for Kuldeep. And KL Rahul could be chucked out for Dhawan. India are in a mess.

More testing conditions for tourists

If there's one ground a touring team razed by movement doesn't want to go, it's Trent Bridge. The first-innings average in the last 11 Tests is 299. This is in keeping with the ground's reputation for assisting seam and swing bowlers.

Only two sides have scored 400 or more in first innings during the study period so it might be a risk to back either team for a dominant display with the bat first up. Australia were bowled out for just 60 in 2015. But is their hope for India? Last summer South Africa, who were having a similar horror show, turned the tables on England, swinging them out for 205 and 133 to win.

Toss is key

England are [1.65], India [4.5] and the draw is [5.5]. Most punters will probably be grateful that they had two Tests to get with England at decent odds. But the overwhelming feeling remains that this is a format which is uncompetitive and that the search for value can be a long and frustrating one.

There is an edge here, though. It is one which few will want to take, however, considering India have been untrustworthy. They have to bat first. Eight of the last 11 Tests which have produced results at Trent Bridge have been won by the side batting first.

The weather forecast is pretty good. There are some spots of rain expected on day two but otherwise it's sunny and cloudy spells.

Jennings overrated

Keaton Jennings gets a rather bloated player performance (1pt per run, 10 per catch) quote from Betfair Sportsbook. His average make-up in the series is 41 and over his nine-Test career he is returning 49 points per game. They go 5/6 over/under 73.5. He notched a ton for Lancashire in the Championship on this ground but it's hard to resist shorting him. Jonny Bairstow is England's top runscorer in the series and the 5/1 with Sportsbook about him top runscoring in the first dig looks big on form alone. Joe Root, who top scored against South Africa last summer, is 5/2. Woakes is 20/1 for a repeat.

Kohli 2-1 for top India bat

Murali Vijay, Rahul, Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane and Dinesh Karthik have been awful. So, as we have said before, Virat Kohli has very little to beat for top-bat honours. He didn't manage it at Lord's, though. Ravi Ashwin popped with a winner. Kohli is 2/1 and Ashwin 16s with Betfair Sportsbook.

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