Alastair Cook‘s men have rightly been receiving all the plaudits after completing a 2-1 series victory in India on Monday when they drew the Fourth and final Test in Nagpur, becoming the first England team to win a Test campaign in the country for 28 years. It was also the first time that India had lost a home series for eight years.
Cook, captaining England for the first time at Test level in the series if you discount the time he stood in for Andrew Strauss in Bangladesh, was named man of the series after amassing more than 500 runs in eight innings. He and his team-mates had drifted to 16/1 in some places after losing the First Test but comprehensively out-bowled and out-batted their hosts in the last three Tests.
Even though there are away and home series to come against New Zealand, bettors are already turning their attention towards next summer’s Ashes in England with the hosts currently a best 8/13 with Betfred, BetVictor and Paddy Power to win the series. Australia, who were recently beaten at home by South Africa, have been easy to back at a general 5/1 but Michael Clarke and his team certainly shouldn’t be underestimated. Mitchell Stark is an exciting bowling prospect and has some experience of English conditions while Peter Siddle looks to be back to his best. The one big worry for the Aussies would be their batting. Phil Hughes is being touted as Ricky Ponting‘s likely replacement but he got well and truly worked over by England’s quickies on Australia’s last Ashes tour and there are signs that Michael Hussey isn’t quite the force of old. All-rounder Mitchell Johnson has also suffered at the hands of the Poms in recent campaigns.
A drawn Ashes series is 5/1 with Skybet, Blue Square, 888sport and William Hill and, as a draw in the five-match series would be enough for England to retain the Ashes, Cook and co are just a general 1/4 to keep their hands on the famous urn before flying out to Australia the following winter for another five Tests.
More immediately, England play world champions India in a two-match Twenty20 series before Christmas. Both sides will be much changed and Eoin Morgan‘s men are 9/2 to win the series with sportingbet and Ladbrokes, while India are 6/4 with Boylesports, BetVictor and Stan James to gain some measure of revenge for their Test reverse. The ODIs between the two sides will take place in the New Year.