India v England
Saturday 13 February, 04:00
TV: live on Channel 4
Kohli and Pujara big value
If the first Test is anything to go by, batsmen will be licking their lips at the prospect of the chance to go big at the MA Chidambarram Stadium.
The wicket was easy-paced in the first two match innings. Joe Root scored a sublime century while Ben Stokes and Dom Sibley scored rapid and unruffled half-centuries respectively. India’s batsmen, complacent and lazy, failed to take advantage. They are expected to knuckle down this time.
As discussed in our match preview, there are signs that batting could be trickier. Indeed, it could be torture. But we have to be shrewd when it comes to playing the individual side markets for runs. In game one we saw a wicket which, once a player got in, meant they were able to score at will. And that presents a problem.
On good batting wickets, the gulf in class between players is reduced. Technique and temperament, which sets the best apart, is not so important when it is a road. So it increases the chances of four or five players scoring the most runs. The man you pick might get 120. But someone else might get 130. That is the issue with flat wickets.
We may not get one, of course, but the solution is to be canny and play markets like ‘to score a fifty’ or ‘to score a century’. Virat Kohli is 2/1 for top India bat with Sportsbook but 11/10 for a fifty and 3/1 for a ton in the first-innings. Chet Pujara is 11/4, 6/4 and 6/1 respectively.
On win rates (at home in first innings), the value lies with Kohli for a ton (a seven per cent edge) while Pujara fits the bill for both – he should be odds-on for a fifty and for three figures he gives us a massive eight points in our favour.
Pujara is a bet of the week on the latest episode of Cricket…Only Bettor for a fifty. Ollie Pope also fits the bill in this regard with 7/4 available with Sportsbook.
Joe Root has always been a smarter wager for fifties and tons. He still only has an 18% win rate on top bat despite three wins in his last three. Filtering first innings in Asia Root should be odds on for a fifty (you can get 11/10) and there is a 3.5% edge for a century at 3/1.
India top batsman wins/matches
Pujara 5 t/31
England top bat wins/matches
Ravi Ashwin was perspiration rather than inspiration in the first Test. But he still managed to win some money back for his followers by claiming shared honours (with Jasprit Bumrah) on the first-innings top India wicket-taker market.
With reports that the pitch is expected to take faster turn earlier, any fears that Ashwin is in a slump are likely to be allayed. In the one spell that he looked on top form (just before lunch on day one) he looked a menace. The pitch was assisting him and England had to work hard. Yet it was fleeting.
Sportsbook were unimpressed by Aswhin and have pushed his price out to 21/10 for top bowler. On win rate, that is about bang on. But we’re going to take it because when we filter his win rate in home Tests only, he gives us an edge of one per cent.
We’re also noting the 8/1 that he manages to pick up the man of the match award. There is a suspicion that this wicket will be underprepared specifically for Ashwin to get India back into the series.
India top bowler wins/matches
Bumrah 3 2t/17
Ashwin 8 3t/25
Ishant 5 t/24
England top bowl wins/matches
Woakes 1 5t/28
Anderson 10 6t/42
Broad 9 9t/49
Archer 2 t/12
Moeen 5 3t/32
Can India improve? This week on Cricket…Only Bettor