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Michael Vaughan: Ashwin and co to spin India to First Test success

Indian spin pairing Ashwin (left) and Ojha are likely to prove a handful for England

"I'd always advise waiting for the toss before getting involved, but if you won't be waking up at 3.30am, I wouldn't argue against backing India at a decent looking 2.68/5."

The First Test of England's daunting series in India begins in the early hours of Thursday morning. The draw is favourite on the Betfair market, but Michael Vaughan is expecting the hosts to emerge victorious on the spinning Ahmedabad wicket

Line-up

It looks like Steven Finn is going to miss out through injury, but I'd question whether England need three seamers anyway. Duncan Fletcher will have asked for a dust pit so, for me, you have to play Monty Panesar alongside Graeme Swann with Samit Patel providing useful back-up.

India will play two front-line spinners - they might even open with spin - so England would be wise to follow suit. The two seamers will be able to bowl 20 overs each, so it shouldn't be a problem.

If they do go with three seamers, as looks likely, Tim Bresnan will be the preferred option to support Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad after doing well in the warm-up games. Reverse swing will be the key for the seamers and we know what Anderson and Bresnan can do here.

Batting-wise, it's going to be Nick Compton to open. It's a big call leaving Jonny Bairstow out after his recent good performances, but it's probably the best call in the long-run as it helps England retain that middle order consistency, with Trott, Pietersen and Bell.

My bets

There have been six draws in the last 11 Test matches at Ahmedabad - my England team got a draw there - and it could be hard going at points. But when thinking about a bet it's worth remembering things happen in days four and five.

I'd always advise waiting for the toss before getting involved, but if you won't be waking up at 3.30am, I wouldn't argue against backing India at a decent looking 2.68/5. I've got serious doubts that England can score heavily against spin and, in Ravi Ashwin, India have a real quality operator. If India win the toss and bat that price could come in quickly. They have go so many good players and are formidable on home soil.

Regular readers of this column won't be surprised to see that I'm backing Jonathan Trott to be Top England 1st Inns Bat - available at 4.57/2 on the Fixed Odds market - although, as mentioned in my series preview, Samit Patel plays spin as well as anyone in the England side, so a bet on Any Other Batsman at 7.06/1 is worth thinking about.

As for India, it's another favourite of mine, in Virat Kohli, who is available to back at 5.04/1 on the Fixed Odds market.

***

I'll be back with my in-play tips after Day Two - and a few thoughts on this weekend's Strictly Come Dancing

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13 November 2012

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