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Stuart Dalgleish 12th Dec 2012 - 16:35

India can bring England back down to earth

India v England fourth Test preview - 04:00 live on Sky Sports 1

England (13/8) will hope to end 28 years of hurt as they take a 2-1 lead into the fourth and final Test against India (6/4, draw 9/4).

We gave you a top price of 9/2 before the series started on the tourists triumphing, and unsurprisingly you lapped it up, of course the job isn't done yet for Alastair Cook and co, but they're almost there.

Indeed the captain (9/4 top England batsman) is one of the main reasons why England stand on the verge of victory, the opener scoring centuries in all three matches so far, continuing his run of hitting tons (4/1 to get a three figure score in this match) in his first five matches as skipper of the side.

India have found getting rid of the opening batsman as easy as getting blood from a stone, the England man just refuses to change his game in the middle and rarely gets tempted to slash at anything outside of off stump.

It hasn't just been Cook scoring the runs, although he has scored more than double the amount of any of his teammates, as Kevin Pietersen (7/2 top Eng bat) and Matt Prior (9/1) are both averaging over 50, and Jonathan Trott (9/2) and Nick Compton (5/1) have both hit half centuries, although Trott's form has been less than spectacular.

England's bowling has been top notch too; spinners Monty Panesar (7/4 top England bowler) and Graeme Swann (7/4) have taken 33 wickets between them while James Anderson (7/2) and Steven Finn (9/2) have offered excellent support when the pitch hasn't turned as much.

Unfortunately for the tourists though, it looks like Finn won't make it having suffered a back injury, Tim Bresnan (4/1) would be the most likely replacement but Graham Onions (9/2) is an option too.

That is likely to be the only change for the tourists; India could make any number of alterations to their beleaguered troops.

Zaheer Khan and Yuvraj Singh have both been dropped and, whisper it quietly, Sachin Tendulkar (9/2 top India batsman) is coming under increasing pressure after several failures so far, although he did battle well for 76 in the last Test.

The Little Master has only scored 110 in five innings, and even a legend of his stature shouldn't be guaranteed a place in the team, although only seven Tests away from his 200th appearance it would be a shame for him to not reach yet another landmark.

Big things were expected too of Virat Kohli (9/2), but it has been an unmitigated disaster for the usually flamboyant batsman so far in this series. With a top score of just 20, he needs a big performance in Nagpur if he's to cement his place in the Test side.

The hosts could revert back to three spinners too, as England have largely blunted their attack in the last two Tests, Piyush Chawla (9/4) will probably get the nod, Ravindra Jadeja (12/1) would be the alternative but this could be too big a game for the allrounder to make his five-day bow.

I still think, despite England's great showing in the last two games, that this series could have one last twist, and you just have to think that India cannot be that bad for a third straight game on home turf, they will prepare another pitch to try bamboozle the tourists and they will put pressure on from the off with spin.

Gautam Gambhir (9/2) has performed solidly rather than spectacularly so far, I think he could be in for a big score and you can get 12/1 on him top scoring (first innings) for India in a home win.

A decent priced England alternative in the same market is Matt Prior at 25/1.

If India do win and square the series it will be England's eighth Test defeat of 2012, the most they have ever suffered in a calendar year, a reminder of how poor they have been since topping the rankings in the summer of 2011.

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