Ed Hawkins reckons India's bowlers should cause the hosts plenty of problems in Leeds from Wednesday.
"Going under 305.5 England first-innings runs in the last two years in all conditions would have provided a winner 12 times out of 23."
England v India
Wednesday 25 August 11.00
TV: Live on Sky Sports
Bowlers to the fore
On crude runs average per wicket data over the last two years in their first match innings, England should be set for 33 at Headingley. Job done. That should be enough to win the game.
Yet you would need your head read betting them to do so given Joe Root has scored 30% of their runs this year alone. If India get him cheaply, England surely fold.
Batting in the first- or second-innings is much tougher in the first- or second-innings at Leeds as shown by the data below.
Average runs per wicket last eight Tests by innings at Leeds
1st - 48 (28 balls per wicket)
2nd - 51.9 (28)
3rd - 57 (34)
4th - 66.8 (42)
England would probably take 270-odd now. And India would probably be disappointed with that, too. Under expected cloud cover, bowling sides tend to make hay. In the study period, only three sides have busted more than 300 batting first.
We would expect England's innings runs line to be set at around the 305.5 mark, give or take. As a guide, going under in the last two years in all conditions would have provided a winner 12 times out of 23.
Root has been boosted to 17/10 for top England bat in the first dig. But we're all in on a strong India bowling performance, advising a big price in our match preview. Click here to find out who it is.
England top bat wins/matches
Burns 4 t/26
Anderson no fun
One could be forgiven for reckoning that England's king of swing and the Headingley surface were a match made in bowling paradise. Not so. Just like England flatter to deice in Leeds, so does James Anderson.
Perhaps it's because he's a Lancastrian but England's greatest bowler is average in enemy territory. Sure, he took ten wickets in a Test against Sri Lanka in 2014 but otherwise he has been steady rather than spectacular. In the previous seven Tests he had taken 19 wickets.
Since that Sri Lanka match Anderson has managed five wickets in each of the two contests against West Indies and Pakistan. Hardly wrecking-ball stuff and the only thing he smashes is any hope that he is a bet for man of the match
Does that leave the top England bowler market wide open with Sportsbook's 2/1 favourite Anderson a swerve? Probably, although Ollie Robinson, despite being formerly on the books at Yorkshire, will make his first-class debut at the ground. It's hard to get on board with the 3/1. Saqib Mahmood has played once there and that was four years ago, picking up three wickets, and 4/1 is about what you'd expect.
England top bowler wins/matches
Anderson 11 6t/47
Hameed a short
Haseeb Hameed is expected to open the batting for England in place of Dom Sibley. It is an unenviable for the Nottinghamshire player who has had a traumatic career.
Hameed, 24, is supposed to be playing for his country. He broke all kinds of records for Lancashire and when debuting for England in India in 2016 at just 19, it was no surprise he made 31 and 82 in an unflappable manner. Another half-century followed in his third Test in Mohali. So how come he has only just returned to the team?
Unfortunately Hameed suffered such a chronic loss of form that Lancashire, his county, dispensed with his services. In the 2018 season he averaged just nine. His career was on the danger of collapse, perhaps from the weight of expectation.
Away from Lancashire at Nottinghamshire the pressure seemed to ease. This term he has two tons and four 50s in the County Championship, enjoying crease domination that England could not ignore.
However, has the burden of expectation returned? At the best of times Hameed is the classical dodgy starter. His feet can be slow to get going and he is prone to nicking off and getting caught on the crease. He looked nervous in making nought and nine at Lord's.
His record more than hints at a player who is vulnerable early on. But if he gets in, he goes on. Sportsbook go 5/6 that he goes under 19.5 runs in the first-inningss. On career first-class record we think there's an edge in our favour at that price of three per cent.
India top batsman wins/matches
Pujara 5 t/37
India top bowler wins/matches
Ashwin 9 3t/28
Ishant 5 t/28
Bumrah 3 t/21
Shami 5 2t/31
(t = ties)
How to bet in-play on the third Test