4th ODI Preview - Pietersen prays for better as an Indian God returns
Yuvraj Singh was kept a quiet in the 3rd ODI but England slumped to yet another defeat via the Duckworth Lewis method. Poor light stopped play which resulted in an Indian victory via this agreed method.
England seem to be getting better with definite positives being Andrew Flintoff taking three wickets and Ian Bell finding some form with a knock of 46.
These are stark consolation however, as England continue to search for their first win in India and odds of 2/5 about the hosts and 7/4 England tell the whole bleak story.
England will be hoping to build on their slowly improving performances as the fourth ODI gets underway on Sunday. The threat of spinners Harbhajan and Yuvraj could be neutralised by a Bangalore wicket that traditionally favours pace bowlers, which could give England a big boost due to their lack of recognised spinners.
Yuvraj was not able to assert his authority with the bat in the third ODI, only managing 38, leaving the top batsman honours to go to Sehwag who can be backed at 7/2 to repeat the heroics.
All eyes may well be on the returning Sachin Tendulkar who is undoubtedly one of the greatest batsmen of all time, and if he can play to anything like his best form it will spell big trouble for England. 4/1 about him being top Indian batman could certainly prove popular.
Ravi Bopara led the way for England in the last game with a solid 60 and is 9/2 to fair best again. An interesting contender for top England batsman is Owais Shah. He top scored in the second one day and hit another solid 40 in the third. He seems a lot more comfortable batting in mid order and if this continues in the fourth ODI then another confident display would be expected.
Taking 4/1 about Shah appeals more than 11/4 Kevin Pietersen. The captain is not putting in the outstanding displays that we know he is capable of and there has been nothing to suggest that things will be changing anytime soon.
Other contenders could be Ian Bell who is available at 9/2 and Flintoff who is growing in confidence with bat and ball and can be backed at 5/1 to convert that into runs.
England now look certain to lose the series with India only needing one more victory to confirm their fate. A victory in the fourth ODI would do wonders for English confidence and give them a fighting chance to get something out of the series. However, with the legend Sachin Tendulkar returning and, too many questions over England's batsmen, the grim reality is that any chance of a come back is pure fantasy.
Top England Batsman - Owais Shah 4/1