England and India head to Southampton and the Rose Bowl for the penultimate Test in the five-match series tomorrow.
Will Joe Root’s side bounce back from a disappointing 203-run defeat in the third Test at Trent Bridge or will India take it to a decider at the Oval next month?
Our cricket expert gives you the best cricket betting odds ahead of the fourth Test.
England in need of runs
That may sound obvious but it couldn’t be more true with the amount of times England’s first innings woes have ultimately cost them over the last three years.
A benchmark score of 300 has only been reached in 35 of their last 65 completed innings and the top order has proved to be the main weakness.
Runs have come down the order, as they did in the last Test match, but the hosts have been 100 or less for four wickets down 31 times out of 62 – that’s exactly 50 per cent.
They are 10/11 to pick up the win at the Rose Bowl to ease any concerns of blowing a 2-0 Test series lead on home soil.
Kohli and co on a crest of a wave
On the other side, India will be buoyed by their showing at Trent Bridge and certainly showed England how it should be done.
Their top order, spearheaded by the irrepressible Virat Kohli, delivered when it mattered most.
Whether England’s star bowlers James Anderson and Stuart Broad can rescue the hosts once again remains to be seen, but the visitors are 13/8 to pick up the win.
All-rounder Stokes could be crucial
England’s Jonny Bairstow picked up a broken finger in the Trent Bridge Test but has been passed fit to play at the Rose Bowl and while he will need to contribute significantly with the bat, the impact of Ben Stokes is even more significant.
The 27-year-old who is known for scoring runs in quick time showed he is more than capable of grinding out a score when required after hitting 62 from 187 balls as he battled in vain to help England save the last Test.
More of the same could be required again in Southampton, while he showed he could deliver with the ball in the opening Test match by taking the crucial wickets on the final morning to secure the win.
If he could combine the two, it is surely likely to end in an England win, so a bet of Stokes to pick up the man of the match award at 12/1 looks very attractive and is one I will go with.