On Thursday 21 July, MS Dhoni and Andrew Strauss will stride out to the crease for the coin toss that precedes the 1st Test of the series at Lord’s and we should expect a cracking encounter to get things under way.
Lord’s is a ground which generally generates a result although the current wet weather we are experiencing in England means that the draw is clearly going to be a player, with two of the three Tests against Sri Lanka going the same way.
Ladbrokes offer odds of 5/6 that this match finishes all square although the forecast currently seems decent and we can be sure that lost overs in the early days will be made up where possible. What is startling is that you can back an India team blessed with quality individuals at odds of 9/2 (bet365 – £200 free bets).
The Indians are the number one Test team in the world, with too much being made of the fact that there has been limited preparation time. When the team take to the field on Thursday, they have the experience to put their opponents on the back foot.
England are 11/5 with Skybet to draw first blood and will be hoping that the track is far from flat in a bid to dislodge the likes of Tendulkar, Dhoni and Dravid on two occasions. That is where Chris Tremlett can enter the fray and Paddy Power offer 3/1 that he is the top bowler for his team.
Graeme Swann (11/4 Ladbrokes – £25 free bets) will have to bide his time before trying to get the ball spinning in such a way to cause problems for the India batting order, while James Anderson produced several top class performances against Pakistan twelve months ago and can be backed at 11/4 (Blue Square) to get off to a flying start.
The final place in the bowling order is a toss-up between Tim Bresnan (5/1 Boylesports) and Stuart Broad (5/1 Boylesports) and preference is likely to be given to the new Twenty20 captain with Broad having been given the backing of team director Andy Flower to produce more fireworks than simply to be an enforcer.
Meanwhile, perhaps the value bet for Top India Batsman in this match is VVS Laxman, with the batsman having represented Lancashire in England and likely to adapt better to the conditions at Lord’s than some of his team-mates, with Stan James going 11/2 that he scores more runs.
Sachin Tendulkar is a legendary name in the game, although he will be the number one target for the England bowlers and the Little Master’s price of 7/2 (William Hill) is probably a touch short, with Rahul Dravid on offer at 9/2 (Stan James).