England host India in a test series which will decide the best cricket team in the world at Test Cricket. India are the current number one team in the world with England needing to win by 2 clear tests to take the title.
If one were to look at the way in which the Indians were decimated in their tour game against Somerset at Taunton, England would probably go into the Lord’s Test match as overwhelming favourites. And then again, not for nothing is this Indian side the number one team in the world.
Winning abroad had been India’s Achilles Heel for long but all of it changed under the stewardship of Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid. The current captain MS Dhoni is merely carrying their work along to a different plateau, and will looking to continue with his no-loss record.
Come July 21, India will know that this could be their sternest test thus far, at level pegging with their series against South Africa. Lord’s is not one of India’s favourite grounds and with many of their cricketers coming from a long layoff, it isn’t getting easier for them. Juxtapose that to the fact that the Indians are one of the slower starters in a series and one could be looking at England going in as favourites.
Shane Warne may have predicted a 1-0 win for England, but what remains unaccounted for, either way, is the fact that he is looking at three other draws. Not that the bookmakers disagree, with the odds of a drawn game at Lord’s being a favourite amongst them at 10/11. Barring the last game played against Sri Lanka, which lost around 90 overs due to rain, the last four games have had results at Lord’s.
England will be very chuffed with what they saw at Taunton though. The Indian batting capitulated hard and barring Suresh Raina’s dazzling century, it looked all in a lost cause. With James Anderson in the swinging form of his life and Chris Tremlett always present to make things difficult with the bounce that he can extract from the pitch, it is no surprise then that the hosts will go in 2/1 to take a 1-0 lead to India’s 4/1 Betfred to win the game.
England haven’t had too much thinking to do, except for the selection of Stuart Broad. Ever since returning back from the Ashes due to injury, he hasn’t shown the same pedigree as a bowler, as before. His selection, which is a given under normal circumstances, seemed to have been debated long and hard and it was only after the captain-coach combination pressed his case hard that he was selected.
The batting is in good hands for England, with Alastair Cook translating his good Test match form into the ODIs as well. Jonathon Trott and Ian Bell are the two others who have been amongst runs and will look to grind the Indian bowlers in a similar fashion to what the Somerset batsmen had done.
Sachin Tendulkar’s imminent 100th international century has been the talking point in the media and there is an offer of 15/8 (PADDY POWER) for him to get there in the 2000th Test match played – this first game at Lord’s. Interestingly, the second best option is for him to not score a century in this series at odds of 9/4 ( Coral)