India v England - 4th Test preview
India vs England - 4th Test Tips
England find themselves one down in the series and facing a must-win match as captain Ben Stokes considers a radical move for the fourth Test against India in Ranchi.
Stokes has not bowled in any match since the second Ashes Test at Lord's last summer because of his long-standing knee problems.
But the Durham star has reportedly felt well enough after his recent net sessions to resume his former role of all-rounder in a bid to sway the series.
England needs to change something after falling to consecutive heavy defeats in the second and third Tests, during which India's batters have posted five individual scores of 100 plus and two double tons.
The two double centuries in the series have both been scored by India's young opener Yashasvi Jaiswal, who has slotted in alongside captain Rohit Sharma at the top of the order like he has been playing there all his life.
In Rajkot, the left-hander became the first Indian batter to convert his first three Test tons into 150-plus scores and, at the age of 22 years and 49 days, was the third youngest player to score two double tons in the longest format.
He also equalled Wasim Akram's record for the most sixes in an innings by smashing 12 maximums during his career-best knock of 214 not out.
His performance, particularly in taking down the England spinners, helped set up India's 434-run victory and it could be the blueprint for another at the JSCA International AStadium Complex this week.
Jaiswal used his feet well to the slower bowlers, is particularly ruthless in attacking any delivery that is given flight and has not lost his wicket to a spinner since the first Test.
He will be a very tough wicket for England to pick up on what is expected to be a spin-friendly surface in Ranchi, with the tourists also expected to rest both Jimmy Anderson and Mark Wood.
Jaiswal's brilliance has overshadowed Rohit's return to form, but the India skipper will be one of the main dangers to England levelling the series as he returns to a ground where he made a double ton in 2019.
The right-hander struck 212 off 258 balls in a big win over South Africa when Test cricket was last played in Ranchi.
And, after stroking a magnificent 131 in the first innings at Rajkot, he will be in the mood for something special again.
It is 17/20 for Rohit to outdo a player performance of 81.5 this week, with one point for every run scored and 10 points for every catch he takes.
The India skipper, who is three runs shy of 4,000 in Tests, currently averages 70 runs and one catch per Test match in his career.
But he has five catches in three games during this series and looks likely to field in a key position at slip when the likes of Kuldeep Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja are turning the ball away from England's batters, which could result in plenty of performance points for Rohit.
Given his form in the series so far, it is understandable why many will be reluctant to back Joe Root to be productive with the bat.
But class is permanent and Root still averages close to 50 in Test cricket, with an average against India of exactly 65 since 2020.
India v England - Third Test Predictions
England recorded an historic victory in the first Test of their series against India before the hosts came roaring back with a fairly comfortable victory in the second game.
The series is delicately balanced as the teams travel to Rajkot to play the third Test.
Here we pick out some of the best bets ahead of the third game of the series.
Tip 1 - James Anderson top England wicket-taker in the first innings @ 3/1
England’s spin attack has taken most of the attention in the opening two games of the series, with left-armer Tom Hartley particularly impressive.
Veteran seamer James Anderson looked back to his best in the second Test, however, and he is fancied to be top England wicket-taker in the first innings.
With the pitch unlikely to deteriorate until the second or third day, the 41-year-old could continue to roll back the years and impress.
Anderson took five wickets in the last match and Jasprit Bumrah showed there is still plenty in the Indian pitches for pace bowlers who can get the ball to move.
With Jack Leach missing through injury, England’s pace bowling will be ever more important in this game and Anderson can be the star.
Tip 2 - Joe Root over 32.5 runs in the first innings @ 10/11
The English batting line-up has impressed in tough Indian conditions, rallying to make 420 in the second innings of the first Test and two decent totals in the second game.
One player who has disappointed somewhat is Joe Root, who has managed scores of 29, 2, 16 and 5.
The 33-year-old possesses such quality that he is never far from posting a big score, however, and given that his Test average is 49.64, he is fancied to bounce back in the third match of this series.
Take Root to go over the line of 32.5 runs in the first innings and announce his arrival in the series in style.
Tip 3 - Ravindra Jadeja top India run-scorer in the first innings @ 7/1
India have been dealt a significant blow with the announcement that talisman Virat Kohli will miss the rest of the series through injury.
In more positive news Ravindra Jadeja returns after missing the second game of the series and could make an immediate impact. The all-rounder top-scored in the first innings of the first Test with a knock of 87 and looks likely to return to the top six in the order.
Jadeja has two centuries in recent years and has a good record against England with the bat too, making one hundred and six half-centuries.
In Kohli’s absence, the returning Jadeja could be the one to step up and is fancied at a big price to be his side’s top scorer in the first innings of this Test.
Our Tips from the Second Test
England produced a stunning fightback to win the first Test against India in Hyderabad by 28 runs and they will be aiming to follow up that success in Visakhapatnam.
The second Test of the five-match series starts on Friday and England will be taking nothing for granted considering their experiences on the 2021 tour of India.
They stormed to a 227-run win in the first match of that series before crumbling against India's spinners in the next three games, so captain Ben Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum will be determined to press home their advantage this time around.
India looked in total control of the Hyderabad Test after taking a 190-run first-innings lead and reducing England to 163-5 in their second dig, but they went on to suffer only the fourth defeat in their last 48 home matches.
Ace all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja and batter KL Rahul have been ruled out of the second Test due to injuries, while batting superstar Virat Kohli is likely to sit out the match for personal reasons.
England Vs India - Tip 1 - England to win @ 19/10
We backed England to win in the first game at odds of 3/1 and the odds have dropped since England's fantastic comeback in the first test.
Winning in India is a rare achievement, so winning back-to-back Test matches would be a sensational result for England.
However, the euphoria of their win in Hyderabad, coupled with the absences of some of India's main men, gives the tourists a great chance of going 2-0 up in the five-match series.
Jadeja's injury is a particularly big blow for India as he averages 40 with the bat and 21 with the ball in home Test matches and is also one of the world's best fielders.
Captain Rohit Sharma and number three Shubman Gill looked in scratchy form in the first Test and two of the England players who were under the most pressure - Ollie Pope and debutant spinner Tom Hartley - produced matchwinning displays in the second innings.
Openers Zak Crawley and Ben Duckett gave England solid starts in both innings and the tourists can further dent India's aura of invincibility at home.
England Vs India - Tip 2 - Ben Stokes Top England Run Scorer - Innings 1 @ 9/2
While Pope's remarkable 196 in the second innings launched England's comeback, skipper Stokes had been their standout batter in the first innings.
The left-hander batted patiently before playing some trademark big shots once he was left with the tail and his 70 was a significant knock given that none of his team-mates reached 40.
Stokes, playing as a specialist batter as he continues his recovery from knee surgery, is worth backing to top-score in England's first innings again.
He made a century in his first Test innings in India in 2016 and followed up with 70, the highest score of England's first innings, in the second match of the series in Visakhapatnam, where he may well trouble the home bowlers again.
England Vs India - Tip 3 - Joe Root Top England Wicket Taker - Innings 1 @ 13/4
Joe Root scored a double-century in the first Test of England's 2021 tour of India, but he was more influential with the ball than the bat in the 2024 series opener.
Root is regarded by the England management as a frontline spinner in these conditions and India's batters will certainly be taking him seriously after he claimed 4-79 in the first innings in Hyderabad.
Jack Leach struggled with a knee injury in the first Test and young leg-spinner Rehan Ahmed was expensive, so Root is likely to have plenty of bowling to do in the second game.
He picked up the big wicket of Rahul in the second innings and was England's top wicket-taker in the third Test of the 2021 series, recording the amazing figures of 5-8 from 6.2 overs in Ahmedabad.
England Vs India - Tips from the First Test.
India have lost only three of their last 40 Test matches at home but a fearless England side, led by captain Ben Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum, aims to upset the odds in a five-Test series starting on Thursday.
England have made huge strides in Test cricket since Stokes and McCullum took charge in June 2022 and three members of their squad – James Anderson, Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow – were involved in the famous 2-1 series win in India in 2012.
However, they have lost their last two series in India by 4-0 and 3-1 margins and will have to be at their best to trouble Rohit Sharma's men in the Tests staged in Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam, Rajkot, Ranchi and Dharamsala.
Tourists must improve to combat India's bowling attack
India's spinners proved too sharp for England on their last visit in 2021. The tourists made 578 in their first innings of the series but were bowled out for 178, 134, 164, 112, 81, 205 and 135 in their next seven digs.
England pulled off an improbable 3-0 win in Pakistan in their first away series under Stokes and McCullum in December 2022 but those matches were played on flat pitches rather than the spin-friendly wickets expected in India.
Home spinners Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel pose a massive threat to visiting batsmen and India also have top-class fast bowlers in Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj.
England's star batsman Root has a fine record in India but much will depend on how openers Zak Crawley and Ben Duckett fare against the new ball, laying the foundation for destructive middle-order men Stokes, Bairstow and Harry Brook.
Stokes is rarely short of innovative ideas in the field and he will need to use all his tactical wiles to unsettle India's star-studded batting unit.
Veteran Anderson has shown his ability to bowl economical spells on the subcontinent while Stokes will look to the pacy Mark Wood and Gus Atkinson for short, sharp, hostile bursts.
Left-arm spinner Jack Leach, who missed the 2023 Ashes due to a back injury, will also have a vital role to play and leggie Rehan Ahmed could seize his opportunity after taking seven wickets against Pakistan on his Test debut in December 2022.
England to win 1st Test @ 3/1
England caught India cold in the first Test of the 2021 series when Root's 218 set up a crushing 227-run victory for the tourists in Chennai.
India have not had much meaningful red-ball preparation for this series as their two Test matches in South Africa after Christmas were played on pitches that suited the fast bowlers.
After that 1-1 draw they went straight into a Twenty20 series at home to Afghanistan and England have made strong starts to their two previous away series under Stokes and McCullum.
They beat Pakistan by 74 runs in the first Test in Rawalpindi in December 2022, having scored an astonishing 506-4 from just 75 overs on the first day of the series.
And in February 2023 they demolished New Zealand by 267 runs in Mount Maunganui despite Stokes's remarkable decision to declare England's first innings after only 58.2 overs.
The tourists are unlikely to take a backward step on this tour and, while their aggressive approach is risky, they are a tempting price to go 1-0 up in the epic five-match contest.