India vs England Prediction: Can Bazball bounce back from humiliating defeat?

 | February 22 | 

5 mins read

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How do you respond to England’s largest Test defeat since 1934? Can Ben Stokes and Co. really save this series? After a mammoth 434-run defeat in Rajkot, Brendon McCullum will be asking himself the same questions. Following such a positive start, this series has completely turned on its head and now, heading to Ranchi, England have to get a result to avoid another series defeat on Indian soil.

India vs England Betting Tips

  • India to win @ 4/9
  • India to post highest opening partnership @ 4/6
  • Ravindra Jadeja - India’s top wicket taker (1st innings) @ 19/10

One thing they will be desperate to avoid is another batting collapse, after two fairly dismal displays with the bat last time out. As a result, we could see a shake-up in the batting order, with Jonny Bairstow’s place at risk after his totals of zero and four in the Third Test. Bazball’s bravado is always in the firing line after any defeat, but it feels like more eyeballs than ever will be on England’s performance, and certain players' shot selection - mentioning no names, cough, Joe Root, cough. 

Root’s flick in the first innings, on just 18, was stupid. But then again, it summed up what McCullum has tried to instil in this team from day one. Confidence to try anything, and do anything. It isn’t how England’s Test teams of the past have played in India, but it’s not as though their other methods have been successful, with just one series win on the subcontinent since 1985. 

"We'll turn the page and go quids in again trying to put India under pressure," said McCullum in the build-up. "Hopefully in seven or eight days we'll be talking about how exciting it is to be heading into a decider."

India to win @ 4/9

Sorry Brendon, but I just don’t see it. A team that is battered and bruised after a 434-run defeat is unlikely to have the confidence needed to go and smash India around the park, as his vision requests. James Anderson is likely to drop out of the team for Ollie Robinson, but there could be another change that damages England. 

Mark Wood was the one bright spark from a bowling perspective in the last Test as he single-handedly got rid of India’s top three, bagged a run out and rounded off the innings with the wicket of Jasprit Bumrah. However, his workload needs to be managed and with just four days of rest in between the two Tests, Gus Atkinson could be a potential option. 

With the series on the line, perhaps such drastic changes are unlikely, which means we could see a tired England attack take on India in Ranchi. The physical cost of bowling for such long spells last week could take its toll, while the hosts made light work of the Third Test and even saved their bottom order from having to bat twice with that early declaration. This is a short price, and I do think England will come closer this time (hardly a groundbreaking prediction, I know), but India should wrap up the series here. 

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India to post the highest opening partnership @ 4/6

A slightly different angle, but one I feel offers good value, is backing India to post the highest opening partnership. Yashasvi Jaiswal and captain Rohit Sharma will lead the team out, and after an impressive Third Test showing they should be able to pick up where they left off. Jaiswal notched 214 not out before India declared in the second innings, while Sharma got 131 in 196 balls in the first innings. 

By comparison, Zak Crawley and Ben Duckett posted just 15 runs between them in the second innings, and while the latter top-scored with 153 in the first innings, I’m not confident in backing them to stick around as a partnership for too long. Crawley posted two 70s in the Second Test but Duckett struggled, and even in the First Test which England won, they lost their first wicket at 45 and then 55 runs in the two innings. There’s a lot of work to do for the top two in England’s order, and I think India are far better placed to get off to a strong start. 

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Ravindra Jadeja - India’s top wicket taker (1st innings) @ 19/10

Our final selection for this comes from the bowlers. Ravindra Jadeja was in spectacular form in Rajkot, taking seven wickets in total. The left-handed all-rounder tore England apart in the second innings, taking a five-wicket haul for just 41 runs in only 12.4 overs. Of course, we must take England’s collapse into account, but with more warm weather expected over the first two days at least, he should be able to make decent inroads in the first innings.

With cloud and rain expected on Sunday and Monday, the second innings may be a different story, but on a hard pitch, his spin bowling should cause England problems again. After coming to the fore last time out and dismissing Ollie Pope, Root and Bairstow, he will on cloud nine. I expect the 35-year-old to get off to a flying start. 

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Check out our other Cricket Betting Tips here. 

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