Ed Hawkins previews game two from Nagpur on Sunday and says a slow and low pitch could make it a lottery...
"England are a young thrusting side who have struggled in the past on wickets which don’t give their hitters freedom"
1pt back India if they bat first
India v England
12.55 Sunday 29 January
TV: live on Sky Sports
The hosts never really got their mojo working in game one to go down by seven wickets. They were listless, as if the successes in the Test and ODI series had rendered it all rather mundane.
There was not much to write home about in terms of individual spark. Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina threatened to ignite but both fizzled out before they could do any real damage. MS Dhoni's late onslaught was, well, late. Far too late and 147 was never going to be enough against a strong England batting attack.
They could make changes as a result. Amit Mishra will fancy his chances of a game considering the pitch while Manish Pandey will be nervous about his.
Eoin Morgan called the victory at Green Park a "complete performance". It is hard to disagree with him as there were few holes in a brilliant bowling effort on a flat rack and then a composed chase.
If were being really picky we might point out that Liam Plunkett was expensive again. Could Morgan have cut his overs for the spin of Adil Rashid, who didn't bowl at all? A bit odd considering Moeen Ali was so tight.
But there is no denying that Tymal Mills lived up to the hype with some rapid and threatening deliveries. Importantly he was mean on economy, too.
The new opening combination of Jason Roy and Sam Billings looks pleasing and it could be a while before the injured Alex Hales get a look-in.
There have been nine T20 internationals at the Vidarbha CA Stadium in 2016, all in the T20 World Cup. Four of them were spread over just two days, which suggests the surface will have been worn and slow by the end. This is borne out by the totals getting progressively lower. The scores read (most recent first): 123-122-126-127-186-116-147-170-158.
It was a terribly slow wicket and spin was king. New Zealand posted just 126 against India but still won, bowling the hosts out for 79 with spinners taking nine wickets. Afghanistan defended 123 against West Indies on this pitch.
Was it a one-off for tournament conditions? Well, in the five previous domestic T20 no team scored more than 150 batting first so it suggests the wicket is consistently tricky.
We are happy to lay either side for 160 or more first up but we can't be sure of what odds will be available. Around 2.26/5 would be fair.
India and England cannot be separated at 1.981/1 and 1.991/1 respectively. Hardly surprising considering the prospect of the Nagpur pitch.
Seven of ten games overall have been won by the team batting first. So we should plump for the team defending right?
Well, yes. But we'd be happier if it was India. They look better equipped to bat and bowl spin on this wicket. England are a young thrusting side who have struggled in the past on wickets which don't give their hitters freedom.
Top England runscorer
Morgan is in terrific touch at the moment and this wicket could suit his skills. A man who is adept at finding the gaps as much as the big shots, he will relish knuckling down here. We might not be able to say the same of the big hitters like Billings, Roy, Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler. So at 9/2 with Sportsbook Morgan may only have 3/1 Joe Root to beat. Don't discount the 25/1 Moeen Ali.
1pt back India if they bat first
Ed Hawkins P-L
Based only on available prices. Does not include back-to-lay in-running match advice or commission rate. Figures 2013-2016 on 1pt level stakes. New points system (1pt-5) introduced for 2017.
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