India v England First Test: Latest Odds & Analysis

Date IconLast Updated: 24 Jan 2024
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India v England First Test: Latest Odds & Analysis

India v England predictions: 

When: Thursday 25 January, 9:30am IST

Where: Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad

Watch: Sports 18 and Jio Cinemas

Best Odds: India 1.44, Draw 8, England 4.33


Always one of the longest and most highly anticipated Test rivalries the world can offer, India and England have provided no shortage of memorable fixtures over recent years, though it has been a 12-year wait since a touring side was able to win a series in this particular matchup.

India were on the verge of ending that drought during their 2021 tour of the UK, which was cut short after the fourth game and finished the following year for a 2-2 draw.

Alastair Cook’s side were the last England team to win a Test series in India, back in 2012, and of course James Anderson remains the only member of that squad to go around again in 2024.

The forever optimistic Brendon McCullum, who himself owns the highest Test score at this venue (225 in November 2010), described India as the “land of opportunity” earlier in the week but acknowledged the challenges ahead of him.

The withdrawal of Virat Kohli for the first two matches (personal reasons) did little to shift the state of the odds amongst cricket betting sites in India, all of whom are anticipating a warm victory for the hosts in Hyderabad’s first Test since 2018.

They won the opening match of the 2012 series in which England emerged triumphant after consecutive victories, whilst the opposite happened in 2021 when India converted a 1-0 deficit into a 3-1 victory, so don’t draw too many conclusions from this series opener!

 

The Numbers That Matter

  • India lost just three of their last 46 home Tests
  • Rohit Sharma has never hit Jack Leach for six despite facing 196 deliveries
  • India averages 55.4 runs per wicket in Tests at this venue
  • Ravichandran Ashwin (25) and Ravindra Jadeja (22) combined for 47 of the 63 wickets claimed by Indian bowlers at home to Australia last year
  • India’s record when they both play: W35, D10, L4
  • Shubman Gill scored 50+ in only three of 14 home innings

More hype than huff in Hyderabad

The question on everyone’s mind not just ahead of this series but perhaps since a couple of series’ into McCullum’s tenure is: will ‘Bazball’ work in Indian conditions?

It certainly does on flat, batting-friendly pitches as illustrated by home series wins against South Africa, New Zealand and Ireland, as well as a 3-0 rolling of Pakistan on surfaces that suited their unprecedented attacking batting.

But they know what’s coming on this occasion: the pitches are expected to be slow and turning, not conducive to the kind of unbridled power hitting with which England’s Test side have made themselves famous since June 2022.

McCullum and the senior players will know precisely what to expect and thus have an interesting quandary ahead of them about how to find the right balance between their ‘brand’ and match-winning cricket in Indian conditions, where going for broke without restraint will almost certainly play against them.

Even without Kohli, India are fielding a tremendously experienced and disciplined side that will be led by five bowlers who all average less than 25 in India. 

Jasprit Bumrah in particular (14 wickets in India at 15.64, 41 v England everywhere at 24.60) is expecting England’s gameplan to open up many wicket-taking opportunities and said he is planning accordingly.

It’s hard to envisage this series being one-sided, but it could take England a game or two to refine their tactics and adjust them to suit the conditions.

Prediction: India to win - 1.44 @ Parimatch

Jaddu’s lean returns to continue

We previously mentioned that Jadeja and Ashwin took three-quarters of all wickets by Indian bowlers last calendar year and cricket betting apps are again expecting them to be India’s two main threats in their 50th Test together.

But will Jadeja’s poor recent white ball form carry on into this series?

Five of his 16 wickets at last year’s ODI World Cup came from one single match, and he then followed it up with just two wickets from two T20Is in South Africa, whilst he was used only as a batter in the quickfire Cape Town Test where the quicks dominated proceedings.

Looking further beyond that to Australia’s tour of India in Feb-Mar 2023, he claimed just four wickets in Indore and only one in Ahmedabad following his ten-wicket haul on a dreadful pitch in Delhi.

Head coach Rahul Dravid said earlier in the week that the pitch will take some spin later in the match, but looks good for batting in the first couple of days. 

Jadeja’s strategy of hitting a good length and letting uneven surfaces do the work for him may therefore not pay off.

The return of a fully fit Jasprit Bumrah to the bowling attack could also threaten his ability to take bulk wickets, particularly if England’s reckless batting approach doesn’t work against the new ball. 

Prediction: Ravindra Jadeja under 5.5 match wickets - 1.98 @ Parimatch

The stage will instead belong to Ashwin

If Jadeja is going to be low on wickets in an India victory, it makes complete sense to 

One of the best ways to counter ‘Bazball’ will be subtle variations, which is Ravichandran Ashwin’s specialty.

Ashwin piled on a series-best 25 wickets against Australia last year, clearing the 6.5 match wicket mark and falling just short twice.

On that basis, 6.5 is probably a fair hurdle set by cricket betting websites for Ashwin to overcome, but his history both against England and at this venue points towards him beating it.

Ashwin collected at least seven wickets in all four (nine, eight, seven, eight) of his home matches against England in early 2021, whilst going further back he owns three of the five best bowling returns at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium.

Of the six five-wicket (in an innings) hauls taken in Test cricket at this venue, Ashwin recorded three of them, including six against New Zealand twice in 2012.

That’s a long way back now, but there has been plenty in the last three years to suggest he is in for another big haul, especially if England’s batters dare take him on.

Prediction: Ravichandran Ashwin over 6.5 match wickets - 1.83 @ Parimatch