Will India continue their fightback in Southampton

Will India Level The Series At The Ageas Bowl?

India battled back in the third Test to keep their series against England alive at Trent Bridge, hammering the home side by 203 runs. Virat Kohli’s men will attempt to level the series at the Ageas Bowl to set up a tense decider to end the summer.

Kohli was at his imperious best in Nottingham to put England to the sword. The India skipper scored 200 runs, including a century in the second innings, to guide his side to the victory.

England deficiencies with the bat were exposed once again. Hardik Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah took five wickets apiece, highlighting the Three Lions’ weakness. The pressure is now on Joe Root and his team to bounce back from their loss.

Root’s performances throughout the summer in the longest form of the game have been underwhelming. The England captain along with the other senior batsmen in the team have been below-par this summer. No batsman is under the spotlight more than Alastair Cook, who has endured a lean time in the middle.

The Three Lions’ cannot afford to keep putting their bowlers under duress. Ben Stokes’ return to the side did not go to plan as he struggled for his best form. Chris Woakes may miss out due to reoccurrence of his thigh injury, paving the way for Sam Curran come back into the fold. India on the other hand are likely to be unchanged for the decisive showdown.

Will India continue their fightback in Southampton

England’s Top Batsman

The spotlight is on England’s batsmen. Since the arrival of Trevor Bayliss as coach their batting in the longest form of the game has been poor to say the least. There have been numerous issues, whether it be a failure to rein in their attacking instincts or converting fifties into hundreds. It appears to have affected Root and Jonny Bairstow more than most, although their quality is still apparent. However, Cook’s form is a major concern. Over the past two years, his record has been extremely poor at the crease. The 33-year-old has offset his doubters with two massive scores against Australia and the West Indies, but his record outside of those two innings is bleak to say the least.

Root had to come to the defense of his predecessor after Trent Bridge. Cook has been an outstanding player for England since making his debut in 2006. The signs of decline are there to see though much as they were for Andrew Strauss and Michael Vaughan. The captaincy can be a heavy burden to bear and even after allowing Root to take the strain, Cook’s performances have not improved. The last two Tests of the series could be do-or-die with an injection of new lift needed in the top order. He has scored fifties in all three of his knocks at Hampshire, back him to lead the way for England at odds of +400   with BetVictor.

India’s Top Batsman

Kohli continued his magnificent series at Trent Bridge, scoring 200 runs, which proved to be the difference between the two teams. The India skipper rose to the occasion once again with an innings of 97 in his first knock, missing out on a century. The 29-year-old would have been furious to miss out on his century. He atoned in the second innings, taking the game away from the home side. He scored 103, displaying his flawless technique. The world’s number one batsman has had the answers for everything the Three Lions have thrown at him.

Kohli has had fortune in the series, being dropped on more than one occasion. However, he has capitalised almost every time, ensuring that he gets every run he can on the board. India have been reliant on their skipper to lead the way throughout the series. The 29-year-old has proven that he can bat in English conditions and he knows that two more efforts may be enough to complete a brilliant comeback. Back him at odds of +188   with Betway to lead the way with the bat.

England’s Top Bowler

If India have been reliant on Kohli this summer, England have been just as dependent on the form of James Anderson. The 36-year-old remains at the peak of his powers, but the Three Lions have to ease the burden on him to perform. Stuart Broad has had his moments over the last year, although he has struggled to produce the level of consistency expected of a senior bowler. Broad has been up-and-down in the series, bowling well in the second innings at Lord’s. However, he was patchy on his home ground Trent Bridge.

Broad has failed to find his best form in the middle over the last year as injuries and a lack of rhythm have knocked him out of sync. It may have been shown up more if not for the performances of Anderson. The 32-year-old is in the same category as Cook, he has to start pulling his weight to avoid being selected on reputation alone. In two matches at the Ageas Bowl, Broad does not have a great record. Back him to change that to fend off his critics at +325   with 888Sport.

India’s Top Bowler

India will likely be unchanged, although the fitness of Ravichandran Ashwin will give them cause for concern. Kuldeep Yadav will be on deck to replace the off-spinner in the side. He has not been as effective in the five-day format as he was in the 50-over and 20-over matches. However, India proved at Trent Bridge they did not need a spinner to bowl England out comfortably. Bumrah and Pandya were outstanding with the ball, finding pace and movement out of the pitch to run through the home side’s batting unit.

One man who has been quiet has been Ishant Sharma. Sharma had a decent series against England in 2014 and bowled well for Sussex in the County Championship earlier in the season. Sharma found his form in the opening match of the series, claiming five wickets at Edgbaston. Back him to thrive at the Ageas Bowl after two underwhelming outings at odds of +325   with Betway.

Match Verdict

England’s weaknesses have been exposed in their batting line-up, while India have been able to put miles into the legs of Anderson and Broad. The tourists batting line-up showed signs of starting to fire at Trent Bridge, which could be enough to turn the series in their favour. The Ageas Bowl is not a familiar venue for the home side and it could come back to haunt them. Back India to secure the win at odds of +175   with BetVictor.

Tips Summary

India To Beat England 4th Test
Thursday 30th August 2018 – Monday 3rd September 2018
Odds: +175

Alastair Cook To Be England’s Top Batsman
Thursday 30th August 2018 – Monday 3rd September 2018
Odds: +400

Stuart Broad To Be England’s Top Bowler
Thursday 30th August 2018 – Monday 3rd September 2018
Odds: +325

Virat Kohli To Be India’s Top Batsman
Thursday 30th August 2018 – Monday 3rd September 2018
Odds: +188

Ishant Sharma To Be India’s Top Bowler
Thursday 30th August 2018 – Monday 3rd September 2018
Odds: +325

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