AUTHOR: Lewis Williams

STAR CRICKET PREVIEW: India v England Test Series

The story so far…

Where to begin? One of the greatest ever innings by an English batsman in tests? The 7-62 from a debut spinner who was hit for six first ball? The overcoming of a 190 (yes, 190) run deficit in the first innings?

England’s incredible turnaround to win the first test in a heart stopping finish is already going to be one of those sporting moments fans talk about for years – and the manner of that stunning success has created many questions for both sides, fans and punters to consider ahead of the second test that starts at 4am on Friday.

Second Test


If a week’s a long time in sport, then it’s an age in test cricket, especially under this England side. India started the first test as overwhelming favourites (2/5 with and were in total control with a 190-run lead at the end of the first innings, only for two outstanding performances to turn what looked a sure thing (India have never previously lost a home Test when taking a lead in excess of 65) into a last gasp defeat.

The biggest question is over the conditions. The pitch in Hyderabad did offer turn, especially as the game went onwards – but also reverse swing and good carry to aid batters. Many will be reminded of England’s last tour, when they won the opening Test on a flat surface in Chennai, only to see the ball turn much more aggressively for the remainder of the series, which they eventually lost 3-1 having made a top score of 205 in seven innings.

The Vizag pitch is expected to turn more, although opener Zak Crawley reportedly said it looked damper than Hyderabad, offering the possibility of assistance for seamers. In India’s past two tests here (England, 2016 and South Africa 2019), spinners took the majority of the wickets, but seamers had an impact; Jimmy Anderson managed 3-62 in the first innings and Stuart Broad 4-33 in the second when England visited in 2016, whilst Mohammed Shami took 5-35 to secure a big win for India in 2019.

The pressure’s on home captain Rohit Sharma, who has been hit with two big injury blows as KL Rahul and Ravindra Jadeja have been ruled out of this second test, to add to the significant gap that Virat Kohli’s personal absence leaves in the Indian batting lineup.

It looks like that Shreyas Iyer will move up to 4 to fill in for Rahul, although there’s a tactical dilemma for Jadeja’s replacement – even with Axar Patel likely to be pushed up to 5. Yuldeep Yadav, especially if the surface turned more, would arguably have the bigger threat, but Washington Sundar’s batting could give him the edge.

Verdict – Overall & Series


Could England do it again? A statement first test win was followed by three defeats on their last tour here but there’s a different feel to things now given the importance of India’s dual injury blow, especially Ravindra Jadeja, and the fact they may benefit to a point from a raging turner.

Commentators have noted how Australia’s spin attack matched India’s in their 2023 tour, with Todd Murphy and Matthew Kunhemann both causing havoc alongside Nathan Lyon as they won in Indore, and whilst a big turning track would give India the advantage, it would be unwise to assume that 2019 will repeat itself.

It should be remembered that England’s victory was pulled off thanks to two absolutely extraordinary performances last week – India touched 1/50 in running – but it’s possible that England may improve for the outing after a long absence (first test since the Ashes), with Ollie Pope and Ben Stokes getting time in the middle whilst Ben Foakes’s 34 in the second innings was a welcome recovery from his early dismissal first up.

India have not become a bad team overnight, but there’s little appetite for pre match odds of 4/9 with

The man of the match market could provide some value here, with spin expected and big first innings runs a feature of the two previous tests. Axar Patel could play a major part here in Jadeja’s absence – he scored 44 and 17 in the first test and picked up three wickets – and 12/1 could be real value if India are able to bounce back.

Going forward, it seems like we can expect plenty of twists and turns on many fronts and it would be no surprise if the two sides traded plenty of blows. England look capable of landing at least one more result and the 3-2 correct score – for both India and England – makes plenty of appeal.

Batters – India

The hosts would have been delighted with their first innings total, as Yashasvi Jaiswal (80), KL Rahul (86), and Ravi Jadeja (87) led the charge towards a 190-run lead over England. The big issue here is that Rahul and Jadeja are out, and Both Shubman Gill (23, 0) and Shreyas Iyer (35, 13) struggled against England’s spinners.

Rohit Sharma (24 and 39) made promising starts but couldn’t convert them last week, and much rests on the opening pair of him and Yashasvi Jaiswal to lay a platform; it would be unwise to bet against them doing so, however. Axar Patel – a left hander who made 44 and 17 last week – now has an even bigger role to play with Jadeja’s absence and could be overpriced.

With Rahul and Jadeja out this market could be more open than usual and the 7/2 about Yashasvi Jaiswal appeals. His first innings 80 from just 74 balls was a sensational effort and whilst he can expect a tougher bowling examination this time around, his attacking mentality and ease on a home surface makes him a potentially lethal opponent, especially on a first innings pitch.

Batters – England

Ollie Pope’s 196 will be talked about for generations, and rightly so – it was a game winning masterclass in playing the conditions and showed all the talents Pope possesses. England’s management will also be very happy with Ben Stokes’ 70 and the aggression of openers Zak Crawley (20, 31) and Ben Duckett (35, 47).

Joe Root has a rare failure of sorts with the bat and will be looking to bounce back, but Ben Stokes will be most pleased with a controlled 70 in the first innings, when he got set and then hit the accelerator, and Ben Foakes (34), Rehan Ahmed (28), and Tom Hartley (34) provided crucial support to Pope in the second innings.

In a competitive market Root is favourite to return to winning ways as top first innings runscorer and he must be respected, whilst Ollie Pope could kick on after his magnificent showing, but Ben Stokes is tempting at 5/1 with to repeat his first innings top scorer. The control and pacing of his first innings 70, which took England to 246 along with the tail – was a most impressive return from injury.

Bowlers – India

The absence of Ravi Jadeja is a major blow, although both he and Ravichandran Ashwin were expensive in the first test (admittedly against Ollie Pope’s masterclass). Jaspit Bumrah was the star of the show with a world class 4-41 in the second innings, taking the scalps of Ben Duckett and Joe Root, that would have won the game if not for Pope.

Rohit Sharma could ask for a much more turn friendly pitch here to give more assistance to Ashwin and Axar Patel – perhaps leaving Mohammed Siraj – who bowled only 11 overs in the first test – out of proceedings. Bumrah looks sure to be the deciding factor, with his world-class ability to reverse the ball, although it’s possible he’s a bigger danger in the second innings.

Star have boosted Ashwin to 13/5 to take the most first innings wickets, which will be of major interest given his previous performance here, although he struggled at times last week.

Bowlers – England

Tom Hartley’s incredible showing in the second innings secured England victory on his test debut and he’ll surely be raring to go again. A more spin friendly pitch would only increase the threat of him and Rehan Ahmed (2-105, 0-33), alongside Shoaib Bashir, who’s making his debut.

Joe Root (4-41 & 1-41) will surely have a big role to play again and would be a major beneficiary if conditions brought aggressive turn. In 2016 (Jimmy Anderson 3-62 in first innings, Stuart Broad 4-33 in second) and 2019 (Mohammed Shami 5-35, second innings) seamers did have a major role and following on from Jaspit Bumrah’s exploits, Jimmy Anderson will have his supporters.

Star Specials


Star’s specials include a market on when the test match will end, and there’s possible value given that the current favourite is for the third session of Day 5. Last week’s test didn’t make the fifth day on a fair wicket despite both teams scoring 400+ in one of their innings and if the groundsmen prepared a more extreme wicket, then we could have a very low scoring second innings from one or both sides. A mid to late Day 4 finish could be interesting value.

England’s first innings run rate is also priced up, with 3.50 to 3.99 (the winning option last week) the 7/2 favourite and a repeat wouldn’t be a total surprise either here as England use attack as their best form of defence against spin.


BACK India 3-2 England Series Correct Score 1pt at 7/2 (⭐ ? CLICK TO BET NOW)
BACK England 3-2 India Series Correct Score 1pt at 11/2 (⭐ ? CLICK TO BET NOW)

BACK Axar Patel Man of The Match 1pt at 12/1 (⭐ ? CLICK TO BET NOW)
BACK Day 4, 2nd Session (When will the Test Match End?) 1pt at 13/2 (⭐ ? CLICK TO BET NOW)
BACK Day 4, 3rd Session (When will the Test Match End?) 1pt at 11/2 (⭐ ? CLICK TO BET NOW)

BACK Ben Stokes England Top Runscorer (1st Innings) 1pt at 5/1 (⭐ ? CLICK TO BET NOW)
BACK Yashasvi Jaiswal India Top Runscorer (1st Innings) 1pt at 7/2 (⭐ ? CLICK TO BET NOW)

PROFIT/LOSS (FEB 2024): +0.00 points



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