Cook And England To Sign Off With Victory

Will Cook sign off on a high note?

England wrapped up their series against India with a solid performance at the Ageas Bowl, claiming a 60-run win over the tourists.

Moeen Ali came in from the cold to star for the Three Lions. The all-rounder claimed nine wickets in the contest, putting the visitors under immense pressure.

Sam Curran’s return to the team was a welcome one for the hosts. He made runs with the bat and ended the contest by trapping Ravichandran Ashwin lbw to drive his team over the line.

India were in a strong position in the game after bowling England out for 246. Cheteshwar Pujara’s century handed Virat Kohli’s men a decent lead, but they were unable to capitalise allowing the Three Lions to put enough runs on the board to secure the victory.

Alastair Cook made the decision to call time on his illustrious career. He will play his final Test match at The Oval and England will be desperate to send one of their finest players off on a high note.

Joe Root’s men have been inconsistent in the longest form of the game, but ending their summer with a victory would send out a strong signal ahead of their tours in the winter.

Will Cook sign off on a high note?

England’s Top Batsman

Cook has been England’s best batsman arguably of all-time. No English batsman has scored more than the 33-year-old’s 12,254 along with his 32 centuries. He has been able to maximise his talent in the middle, overcoming technical issues with immense mental strength at the crease. Cook’s powers have been on the wane since he relinquished the captaincy after England’s defeat to India last year. The opener has admitted that he has nothing left in the tank given that he has played 158 consecutive matches, captaining 58 contests.

It’s no surprise to see that Cook has opted to call it day on his terms with the strain of opening the innings along with other duties beginning to take their toll. Cook has struggled in the series against the new ball, notching a high score of only 29 from his seven innings.

The 33-year-old has made more centuries against India than any other opponent. He does have a good record at The Oval, averaging 45.40, scoring two hundreds and six fifties. It would be poignant for Cook to bow out with a massive score against Kohli’s men. Although he has struggled for form, he has always seized the moment in the past. Cook would bookend his career with centuries against India, therefore take him at odds of +450   with BetVictor.

India’s Top Batsman

Even Kohli’s brilliance at the crease could not guide India over the line. Once again he made runs in the middle, scoring a half-century in the second innings. However, once he was removed by Ali, the tourists collapsed to a 60-run defeat. India have been reliant on their skipper to provide the foundation of their innings. Without his presence they would have been hammered on tour as England have victimised the top order, while the lower order have been reckless with their wickets.

Ajinkya Rahane has shown the appetite to support his skipper, while Pujara scored a fine century to get back to his peak form. However, those contributions were not enough at the Ageas Bowl. Rahane has been solid in the middle order, although a big score has eluded the 30-year-old. Rahane has a decent record overseas and on a flat wicket at The Oval he could cash in to notch his first century of the series. Rahane came close to at Trent Bridge with a score of 81. Back him at odds of +550   with 888Sport to lead the run column to take the pressure off Kohli.

England’s Top Bowler

Ali came to the fore when England needed someone to take the lead other than Anderson. He was outstanding notching nine wickets in the contests, including the key scalp of Kohli in India’s second innings which proved to be the decisive moment in the game. Ali has not succeeded when he has been the lone spinner in England’s ranks, raising the question whether the Three Lions can proceed without Adil Rashid in the side. Rashid has barely had an opportunity to bowl due to the success of the seamers along with Ali.

His exclusion could see Chris Woakes come back into the fold, with Curran holding on to his position. Curran will be playing his first Test match on his home ground and will be determined to make an impact. He will have a strong understanding of conditions having played a first-class match at the venue as recently as last month. The 20-year-old was impressive with the ball at Edgbaston, while his exploits with the bat were essential at the Ageas Bowl. Back him to lead the wicket column at odds of +550   with Betway.

India’s Top Bowler

India have made inroads into England’s top order, regularly taking four wickets before the home side have reached the 100-run mark during the series. However, they’ve had major issues removing the lower order as Jos Buttler, Curran and Woakes have all scored important runs to take the game away from the tourists.

Ashwin’s form is a major concern for Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri. He has not looked himself over the past couple of games due to a hip injury. On a turning track at Southampton, Ashwin was ineffective and was outperformed by Ali. India could turn to Kuldeep Yadav, although he is not a proven performer at Test level.

Jasprit Bumrah has been very impressive with the new ball. He has tormented Cook and Keaton Jennings since coming into the team, embarrassing the latter with a swinging delivery in the first innings. He has had trouble maintaining his form throughout the innings. However, Bumrah’s ability with the fresh cherry could see him run through England’s order once again at odds of +300 with BetVictor.

Match Verdict

England will be desperate to send Cook out on a high note to give him the performance that his outstanding career deserves. After their defeat India will have one eye on the plane home to prepare for future challenges after falling short on the tour. Back the Three Lions to secure their fourth victory of the series at -125   with 888Sport.

Tips Summary

England To Beat India Fifth Test
Friday 7th September 2018 – Tuesday 11th September
Odds: -125

Alastair Cook To Be England’s Top Batsman
Friday 7th September 2018 – Tuesday 11th September
Odds: +450

Ajinkya Rahane To Be India’s Top Batsman
Friday 7th September 2018 – Tuesday 11th September
Odds: +550

Sam Curran To Be England’s Top Bowler
Friday 7th September 2018 – Tuesday 11th September
Odds: +550

Jasprit Bumrah To Be India’s Top Bowler
Friday 7th September 2018 – Tuesday 11th September
Odds: +300

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