India v England: Tourists caught in the spinners' web

Matt Prior is the value in the top England batsman market

Can Alastair Cook's side keep the twirlers at bay? Ed Hawkins reckons the problem is too deep rooted to bring the tourist respite in Mumbai

"England have a terminal illness. They cannot play spin."

India to win 2nd Test at 2.0421/20

Nothing wrong with India's selection after a comprehensive nine-wicket victory in Ahemdabad to give them a 1-0 lead. Cheteshwar Pujar and Pragyan Ojha were the stars. Pujara hit a double ton and Ojha, a spinner, of course, claimed nine wickets. MS Dhoni, the India captain, has openly asked groundsmen to doctor pitches in his side's favour, asking for surfaces which turn and bounce. But do they need it?

There will be no Steven Finn for England after the fast bowler was definitely ruled out with a thigh injury. That means Stuart Broad, who was criticised for a listless performance, looks certain to play. But room must be found for Monty Panesar it would seem. Andy Flower, the coach, admitted it was a mistake not to play the twirler. Jonny Bairstow or Eoin Morgan will replace Ian Bell, who is on paternity leave.

Venue and conditions
The Wankhede Stadium is supposed to be all things to all men. Seamers like the swing they get from the sea breeze, runs have been aplenty and spinners come into play as the pitch wears. In 2005 India beat Australia inside three days with the ball spinning viciously. The last Test played there saw a thrilling draw against West Indies with India one run short of victory at nine wickets down. Seven of 22 Tests have been drawn.

First-innings runs
Dependant on the toss, of course. England were blown away for 191 while India posted 521 in Ahmedabad so there are different strategies for whoever bats first. There is not much value to be had on India's runs so the England market is best played. The average is 305 in the last ten. England should be capable of buckling down and posting more than 300. The second innings in game one should have given them some confidence. In 2006 they posted 400 there.

Match odds
England have a terminal illness. They cannot play spin. Simply put, a miracle cure is needed, but there isn't one. This is ingrained. It is like expecting a race horse who loves soft ground to be as effective on hard. Indeed, England could actually compound the problem by picking Bairstow instead of Morgan. The Irishman has good experience of Indian conditions while Bairstow has, generally, looked confused against top-class spin. Picking the Yorkshireman would give them an even softer underbelly than they already possess.

It is probable that by the time of the last Test, England had improved against spin. The problem is they then go away and forget it all. Throughout this Test they will be prone to collapse and when you write that about a side, they become impossible to back.
India are the bet at 2.0421/20. England are 5.905/1 and the stalemate 2.8615/8.

Top India runscorer
Ravi Ashwin top scored, bizarrely, last time with a ton versus the Windies. But there were runs, too For Sachin Tendulkar. The Little Master is 5.805/1. Virender Sehwag is jolly at 4.30100/30 while Pujara is 5.204/1.

Top England runscorer
Alastair Cook is skinny indeed at 3.8514/5 following his epic second-dig ton. Perhaps he is the only Englishman to trust? Well, oddly, Matt Prior who also deserved three figures, is as big as 9.417/2. That won't last.

Recommended Bet
India to win 2nd Test at 2.0421/20

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