By News Team
31st August 2021
It’s been a thrilling series so far between England and India, and after the hosts levelled the scores at 1-1 last week with an impressive victory at Headingley, it’s off to the Oval we go for the fourth Test.
We preview the action ahead of the penultimate Test of the series, which gets under way on Thursday.
England looking to pick up where they left off
Having been outplayed by India in the second Test, losing by 151 runs, England arrived at Headingley under huge pressure to secure a result to keep the series wide open. And that they did in style, with just about everything going to plan for Joe Root’s men. If getting India all out for 78 in the first innings was a tremendous sight for England fans, so too was seeing England pile 432 on the scoreboard to take full command of the match. While India had threatened to make things uncomfortable by moving to 215-2 in their second innings, the hosts tore through their opponents on Saturday morning to claim a stunning innings and 76-run win.
It was seamer Ollie Robinson who proved to be England’s hero with the ball on that fourth morning, dismissing Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli to push the side towards victory, finishing with Test-best figures of 5-65 in the process. Like the whole England team, Robinson will be full of confidence heading to the Oval on Thursday and the Sussex man is 4/1 to continue his form into the first innings of the fourth Test and finish as England’s top bowler.
There will be plenty of competition in the bowling department for England for the fourth Test with the return of Mark Wood and Chris Woakes from injury, meaning the likes of Craig Overton, who impressed at Headingley, may miss out. Fast bowler Wood, who took five wickets in the second Test and who looked near to getting back to his best before injury curtailed him once more, is 7/2 to finish as England’s best bowler in the first innings.
Root to lead England to another win?
What a series it’s been for Joe Root. His sublime 121 off 165 balls was his third century of the series and sixth of the year. In fact, it’s been such a stunning 2021 for the England captain that he’s chasing down a number of batting records, including most Test centuries by an England batsman in a year, most Test runs by an England batsman in a year and most Test runs by any player in a year.
One record Root has broken is for the number of Test wins as England captain, securing a 27th victory at Headingley to overtake Michael Vaughan’s haul of 26. Root will be looking to make that 28 at the Oval to edge England ahead 2-1 and put them into a commanding position where they can’t lose the series. Following last week’s heroics, the hosts are now the 5/4 favourites for victory in the fourth Test, with India 11/8 and the draw priced at 7/2.
As for the favourite to do the most damage for England with the bat in the first innings, it’s no surprise to see Root leading the betting at 6/4, while Dawid Malan is next in line at 4/1 after an impressive return to the Test fold saw him secure a knock of 70. Haseeb Hameed, another player who has returned to the side during the series after a spell out in the wilderness, is 5/1 after his 68 last time out.
As for India, captain Virat Kohli is the 9/4 favourite to be their best batsman in the first innings, with Cheteshwar Pujara, Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul all following at 7/2, while Jasprit Bumrah (5/2), Mohammed Shami (10/3) and Mohammed Siraj (7/2) lead the betting in the bowling department