- India may have been put under severe pressure in the first Test, but they responded strongly in Visakhapatnam to win by 264 runs. Cheteshwar Pujara has scored a century in each match of the series so far, while captain Virat Kohli was at his sublime best with scores of 167 and 81 in the last match and off spinner Ravichandran Ashwin returned to form with a five-wicket haul.
- England were left to rue a first-innings collapse to 80-5 in the last match and could not hold out for a draw despite a valiant attempt. Apart from a couple of bad sessions, though, most of the players have performed well in the series, with Adil Rashid coming of age as a Test-match bowler, the seamers showing their class and runs for everyone in the top seven except Ben Duckett.
The first two Tests of the series have illustrated the significance of winning the toss in India, with England pushing for victory when they got the chance to bat first in Rajkot but then being outplayed in the next match. Anyone keen to have a flutter ahead of the match might therefore prefer to consider the player markets, and betting on the top England batsman is sure to attract a lot of interest.
One key factor might be how England plan to restructure their batting line-up, with Jos Buttler expected to come into the side for the struggling Ben Duckett. One-day specialist Buttler has played just one first-class match in a year and it would be a risk to slot him straight in at four, so Moeen Ali may be moved up the order. Another option would be to promote Jonny Bairstow, who has been consistent so far this series without kicking on to a big score. Right-handers have had an easier time playing the spinners and Bairstow’s odds of 8/1 to be leading run-scorer are very appealing, whether he stays at No.7 or gets the opportunity to go in earlier.
The Mohali pitch had been expected to offer more assistance for the seamers than the previous two surfaces, but the initial signs are that it will be drier than normal and the spinners will again be tasked with the majority of the work-load. Adil Rashid is looking increasingly confident at this level and can be backed at 10/3 to be England’s top bowler.
- Sports.net’s top tip: Jonny Bairstow to be top England batsman - 8/1
*Please note, odds may fluctuate.