INDIA v ENGLAND - 5TH TEST
A buoyant India will look to pile on more misery on a struggling England looking bereft of ideas and inspiration ahead of the fifth and final Test match at Chennai from Friday, December 16. Alastair Cook’s men have already lost the series 3-0 and if rumors are to be believed, this could be the opener’s swansong as captain. On the other hand, Virat Kohli’s team is moving from strength to strength and are on the cusp of history. A draw or victory in Chennai would make them the first Indian side to go unbeaten in 18 matches.
The series victory is achieved after a stupendous win at Mumbai but there would be no let-off of pressure by the Indians. Coming as this against a team that has often been their nemesis makes the series win sweeter for the hosts. Without a doubt, they would be gunning for another win and continue their dominance. Cook, who’s had a difficult time answering critics questioning his appetite to lead the side, would be looking to leave the series with something to savor.
For India, Mumbai Test saw the return to form of Murali Vijay who will enjoy the playing on his home ground. Only KL Rahul and Karun Nair remain short of runs with Kohli and Cheteswar Pujara continuing their cracking form for India. Runs from Ravichandran Ashwin and the lower order have become so common that the Indian fans are now expecting them to score consistently.
The visitors have a lot of questions to answer. Keaton Jennings may have flopped in the second innings at Mumbai but his first innings century should definitely hand him another opportunity. The side is lacking runs and would do well with another batsman although the only backup available is the out-of-form Ben Duckett. The team looks jaded on the field and is seriously crying out for inspiration. Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow are scoring runs but somehow it’s not clicking well for England.
Most of their troubles are because of their bowling where they look to lack a creative spark. Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali’s wickets are coming at a price and that’s hurting them badly. They looked one bowler too many at Mumbai and may rejig the playing XI. Stuart Broad could be fit to come into the side and should be a welcome addition.
It’s not a surprise that India start this match too as heavy favorites. Odds of 1.57 don't give much returns but it’s safe to punt on their victory. With so much uncertainty over their performances, an England win can all but be ruled out.
Bairstow is looking in great touch this series – all through the season to be fair – and at odds of 6.5, he looks a good punt to be their top batsman. For India, there looks to be more value punting on Kohli – odds of 3.25 – to be their best batsman.
With the ball, Rashid at odds of 5/2 looks a god punt to back as the visitors’ best bowler. And for the Indians, who better than local boy Ashwin to punt on! Odds of 2.38 make him a worthy bet.