After the trials and tribulations of a 4-0 hammering in the Test series before Christmas, it must have been a relief for those connected with the England set-up to win their warm-up match with India A before the ODI series gets under way in Pune at the weekend.
Sam Billings made 93 in Mumbai to steer England to a narrow victory, carrying on the good form he showed in Australia’s Big Bash. But the Kent batsman is no certainty to start the ODI series as he occupied the number three slot normally reserved for Joe Root. England’s best batsman gave Eoin Morgan’s team a boost when he declared himself available after partner Carrie gave birth to their first child last Saturday.
Root is one of the few England top order batsman who has looked entirely at home against India’s spinners and the news that he will be available for all thee ODIs and two T20 games on the sub-continent is a massive boost for England. Sportingbet make England 2/1 to win the ODI series with India on offer at a best 1/2 with marathonbet and I reckon that’s decent value for the tourists.
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Liam Plunkett and Ben Stokes were rested for the game against India A but both will come back into the reckoning for the series opener in Pune and you can’t ignore the massive progress that England have made in limited-overs cricket since their World Cup humiliation two years ago. They only lost once last year, in Bangladesh, but still won the series and hammered both Sri Lanka and Pakistan at home. Morgan’s men should have won the T20 World Cup as well so it doesn’t make sense to back India at very short odds.
Virat Kohli’s team have lost ODI series to Bangladesh, Australia and South Africa since the World Cup. They just edged out New Zealand in October in a home series than went right down to the wire and Kohli is captaining the limited-overs side for the first time since replacing MS Dhoni. The latter will don the wicketkeeping gloves again, however, and Ashwin and Jadeja will again look to torment the England batsmen.
That said, there are serious run-makers throughout this England one-day side and, if they can keep the crowds quiet, there is no reason why they can’t enjoy some success. An England 2-1 win in the correct score betting is 5/2 with Sportingbet.