Cricket expert Neil Eyes (@nellbergcricket) analyses England’s 4th test against India at The Ageas Bowl, Southampton, which begins on Thursday and delivers us his best bets.

England v India 5th Test Betting Preview, Odds & Tips

England wrapped the series up last week to move 3-1 ahead with 1 test remaining. There's still much to play for those, individual players places going forward, England will want to halt a habit of losing dead rubbers and get some consistency in their batting and no side lead by Virat Kolhi will be allowed to take a game easy.

This will be Alastair Cook's last test, his career has been reviewed by all and sundry this week so I won't focus too much on that. I was a supporter of his remaining in the side, mainly because I don't think Jennings is up to the task, but now feels like the right time to go. It's obviously a decision that he'll have thought long and hard about and he seems at peace with it. From a sentimental point of view I hope he makes a score, the pitch should suit, but he hasn't looked in any kind of touch.

England go in unchanged, but with Moeen to bat 3 (like he did in the 2nd innings at the Ageas Bowl) and Bairstow getting the gloves back. Moeen at 3 for me isn't the long term solution in England when the ball moves around, if its one eye on the Sri Lanka series this winter then I don't mind. I means that the other batsman can all bat where they want, so that's a positive. Bairstow getting the gloves has irked me a little. He was sulky last game because they got took off him, so they've had to give him them back now. Is he fully fit to keep? Can the management be seen to be pandering to the players? It doesn't sit right with me to be honest. He needs to get his head down and score some runs (averages just 32 in tests since the start of 2017) rather than whinging about whether he keeps or not.

India's openers have contributed next to nothing, so they could give young Prithvi Shaw a run out. He looks the real deal, but is very aggressive so making his international bow in either a white ball game or a home test may be an easier introduction. Cricinfo have muted other changes, namely Vihari for Pandya and Jadeja for Ashwin. Ashwin was disappointing last test, but this surface should suit so it would be a big call.

Betting Odds

  • England 10/11
  • India 12/5
  • The Draw 5/1

The Verdict

For Cook fans, he's 5's to be top England bat and 9/1 to be man of the match but I'm not keen on that. I put up a Cook-based tip a few days ago, 500/1 for him to take a wicket in the game (since been chopped to 100/1). Along the same lines is Cook to bowl a ball at 10/1 (#yourcall special with Coral). If England are winning comfortably then the crows will want him to bowl, and even if India are romping to victory then he may get a token over. I doubt it'll be a bore draw but if it is meandering to a draw and England are in the field then he'd surely get an over so the crowd can get behind him and thank him for his career.

I quite like the look of Skybet's boost that Kohli and Root both make a 1st innings 50. In Kohli's case he's looked imperious this tour, and England are no closer to working out a way to keep him quiet. Root's series has tailed off, but back down to number 4 (his preferred spot), the series wrapped up and all the focus on Cook this week he should be in a relaxed mood and able to play his best cricket. You can get just above evens more than individually to score a 1st innings 50, so 4/1 combined looks more than fair.

Lastly, Cook retiring leaves an opening spot up for grabs. The logical choice is Rory Burns, who's churned out tons of runs for Surrey. If England didn't rate Jennings they could have brought Burns in here, so they must have a high opinion of him. Denly is high up in the betting to open in Sri Lanka, I'm not sure his face fits with the England set-up at the moment and I can't have him above Burns in the pecking order. If Moeen continues at 3 to give the side balance then my openers would be Burns and Jennings, which is priced up at 5/2. This market is found under “England specials”.

Recommended Bets

  • Jennings and Burns to open the batting in the 1st test vs Sri Lanka – 5/2 (Sky Bet)
  • Kolhi and Root to both score a 1st innings 50 – 4/1 (Sky Bet)
  • Cook to bowl in his final test – 10/1 (Coral)