India v England
Sunday 14 March, 13:30
TV: live on Sky Sports
India need to cut loose
India were well-beaten in game one, managing only 127 for seven and going down by eight wickets with more than four overs to spare. Their batting, then, is likely to come in for criticism.
Caution is advised, however. India at least have recognised they need to change their mindset ahead of the World T20 in October and this low score was a result of that. They have set out to be more attacking, reckless even when you view Virat Kohli’s dismissal. And that’s fine. It might just take a while to get used to.
Don’t rule out changes to the XI, however. When Kohli suffers a defeat with RCB he loves to tinker. So he tinkers a lot. Rohit Sharma was rested for game one but should come back in at some stage. India may pick an extra batter at the expense of a spinner but need overs from Hardik.
Possible XI Rahul, Dhawan, Kohli, Pant, Iyer, Hardik, Sundar, Axar, Thakur, Kumar, Chahal
Archer is fit
England seemed a little surprised that, on a tour dominated by spin, it was pace that won them the day. Jofra Archer, who took three wickets, Mark Wood and Chris Jordan were all excellent, although it would be remiss not to point out that Adil Rashid opened the bowling and set the tone.
There were some surprises in selection. Jason Roy came back in to the opening berth with Jonny Bairstow at No 4. More surprising, perhaps, was Roy’s belligerent innings. His 49 from 32 ensured there could be no panic.
Roy’s pick also says a lot about what England think the Ahmedabad pitch is up to. There was no room for Moeen Ali, meaning that England deployed just the one spinner. India picked three.
Probable XI Roy, Buttler, Malan, Bairstow, Stokes, Morgan, Sam Curran, Archer, Jordan, Rashid, Wood
Game one didn’t provide the clarity that we required with no T20 matches played at the venue since 2013. India picked three spinners, England picked one showing a difference of opinion. England, at the moment, could be right although we doubt that the wicket had anything to do with India’s poor show as already discussed. What could be important is dew. Kohli said he would have chosen to chase had he won the toss. So expect the side fielding last to struggle to keep it tight with a wet ball.
On innings runs we advised skinny lays of 130 and 140. That paid off. But we’re not sure that this is the slow, low surface which could tie a team in knots. Hopefully we will have a better opinion by game three. We note Sportsbook’s 5/2 that there is no first-innings fifty.
England can go well
India are 1.9010/11 and England 2.0811/10. That is one of the most dramatic shifts in odds after just one game that we can recall. India were 1.664/6 before the first match.
An overreaction? One would like to think the market has reacted because it recognises that the toss is crucial and it’s close to a ‘your choice’ affair. But we don’t buy that. If the Pakistan Super League taught us anything it took about ten games for the market to switch on to a bias.
So, in short, the view is that England are strong outfit who deserve more respect. That’s fine. We said there was no evidence for the gulf. With minimal change expected post toss, we’re happy to be with them in the chase again.
Kohli and Jos Buttler have both been price-boosted to 11/4 for top bat honours for their team respectively. Sportsbook want you to bet them and on win rates they’re right. KL Rahul and Dawid Malan are likely to be well supported at 13/5 and 7/2. Rishabh Pant batting at No 4 makes him very tempting at 5s.