After Day 1 of the fourth Test between England and India at the Oval, the series remains firmly in the balance.
Dismissing Virat Kohli’s men for less than 200 in south London on Thursday, England looked to be in the box seat going into the evening session. However, after being reduced to 6/2 and despite Joe Root’s latest rally, the hosts lost their talismanic skipper and world number one batsman shortly before close of play to reach stumps at 53/3. Nevertheless, the bookies still have England favourite to take a 2-1 series lead to Old Trafford with one to play, with William Hill pricing Root’s men at 4/7.
With only seven wickets in hand, can England take an advantage into the second innings? The hosts are valued at 4/9 by Bet365 to do so, but India have the destructive Jasprit Bumrah and the in-form Mohammed Siraj in their ranks and the duo could easily deny England reaching 200 or even less than their own 191 first innings total. Accordingly, India are 13/8 to take a lead into the halfway stage of the Test, again with Bet365.
If, however, you fancy England to push on and build a good lead, SkyBet’s boost of 2/1 from 7/4 to reach 275 runs is worth checking out, whilst for the 300-mark to be surpassed, 10/3 odds are yours with William Hill.
Individually, Dawid Malan has began to come into his own in the Test arena of late and set to resume halfway to his 50 on Friday, England’s number three will be eyeing taken the burden off his skipper, with Root back in the pavilion. For Malan to hit a century, SkyBet’s boosted odds of 6/1 from 5s could be just the ticket.
Alternatively, if you foresee England being skittled cheaply and for the wickets to tumble in Friday’s morning session, again SkyBet is your best bet, with odds of over 3.5 wickets to fall before lunch at 13/8.
For the draw outright meanwhile, currently MansionBet and Betfred carry odds of 2/1, but given four full days remain and with good weather forecast for the weekend, a positive result looks likely for one side or the other.