India v England
Start time: 04.00GMT
TV: live on Sky Sports
India are the No 1 side in the world and almost unbeatable at home. New Zealand and South Africa have been despatched with ease most recently. England are the only team to pinch a series win in the last 15.
Spinning wickets and canny twirlers have been the bedrock of India's success at home since time began. But in Ravi Ashwin they have the best in the world, ably supported by the accurate Ravi Jadeja.
Yet India are not at their strongest. KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan are out, which weakens a batting line-up which New Zealand exposed. Runs depend on Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane and Chet Pujara.
Hardik Pandya, the all-rounder, or Karun Nair will bat at No 6. Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav and Amit Mishra compete to join Mohammad Shami in the bowling ranks.
England have announced that 19-year-old Haseeb Hameed will open the batting with Alastair Cook to make his debut. It is the right call but it should have been made for the second Test against Bangladesh in Dhaka, allowing the youngster time to bed in.
Ben Duckett, who was afforded the opportunity to acclimatise to Tests, will bat at No 4. That should suit his game. Gary Ballance, mercifully, has been axed.
Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes and Stuart Broad will be asked to frustrate India's stroke makers and also find reverse swing if conditions allow. Moeen Ali, Adil Rashid and Gareth Batty are likely to form a three-pronged spin attack. Jake Ball has an outside chance of playing. James Anderson is not fit yet.
England are on a hiding to nothing according to most news outlets. We disagree. India's batting did not convince against New Zealand's disciplined attack and England are as dogged. Our series preview is here and we expect a tighter contest than those predicting a whitewash.
This is the first Test to be played at the new Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot. The last 10 first-innings scores in first-class cricket read: 551/239/102/238/519/659/207/72/400/475. It's a mixed bag but one thing is clear: it turns.
A major warning for England comes from October last year when Saurashtra beat Hyderabad by 35 runs despite being rolled for 102 in first-innings. It ragged square from ball one. All 40 wickets went to spin. Jadeja bowled his team to victory with 13 of them.
India are 1.75/7, England are 5.85/1 and the draw is 4.3100/30. This is a simple game to decipher and we get the feeling we could be repeating this mantra over the next few weeks: win the toss, win the game.
India are a good bet if they bat first, providing they retain current odds at some stage. But a terrible one if they don't. If the call goes England's way then they have a better chance than the odds suggest of claiming a surprise scalp.
But, weirdly, it's not easy winning a toss in Asia. England are the only travelling team to win a toss in the last 15.
The wicket has cracks on it and we would expect these to open up by the fifth day. This will mean a target of 200 could be far beyond England. England might want an extra 50 in the bag if they bowl last.
In the last 10 first-class matches, six have produced results. Five were won by the team batting first.
Top India runscorer
Before we look at innings honours, a word on the series outright for India with Sportsbook.
Kohli is 15/8. That's not a price we're interested in. He has copped only three times in India's last 15 series. Pujara and Rahane outscored him against the Kiwis last month. They are 7/2 and 4/1 respectively.
Kohli is 4.03/1 to score most in the first dig followed by Pujara at 5.14/1, Vijay at 5.85/1, Rahane at 6.1 and the returned Gautam Gambhir at 6.86/1. We like Pujara on his home turf and will take the 2.166/5 that he scores a first-innings 50.
Top England runscorer
Alastair Cook is 4.57/2, which leaps off the coupon as value, and Joe Root is 3.9. Hameed is 8.27/1 and Duckett 7.413/2. Stokes and Ali might appeal at tasty numbers - 8.615/2 and 9.617/2 respectively.
Back side batting first
Back C Pujara for first-innings 50 at 2.166/5