Ballance outscoring Pujara among the best bets for First Test

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When India and their acute travel sickness were booked in to play a five-match Test series with England, Alastair Cook was meant to be halfway down the road to recovery having seen off Sri Lanka.

Unfortunately there’s a distinct possibility his reputation could become beyond repair, having lost the series to Angelo Mathews’ men and with India just 13/8 to win the second series of the summer.

Things kick off at Trent Bridge, where we’ve already highlighted an English ‘batsman’ to flourish at massive odds. Here’s three more bets for the clash:

James Anderson to be England’s top 1st innings wicket taker @ 9/4

Contrary to popular belief, Trent Bridge is Anderson’s most productive ground.

He’s snared 49 victims in seven Tests (he has 68 wickets from 15 games at the Home of Cricket) there and has as many five-fors in those games (six) as he has from all his other home Tests put together. Both his 10-wicket hauls have been in Nottingham too.

Gary Ballance (+7.5) to outscore Cheteshwar Pujara in 1st innings @ 5/6

Yorkshire’s Zimbabwe-born batsman is fresh from an impressive Sri Lanka series, where he followed up an unbeaten maiden Test ton in the first game with 74 in the first innings of the second.

Pujara’s class is undoubted, he has the fifth-highest average in the history of the game from players to have made over 15 appearances, but a lack of experience in England could help Ballance steal a march, especially with a generous handicap.

Match to end a draw @ 11/8

This tip goes against the grain as there hasn’t been a draw in 11 Tests at Trent Bridge, with the last one coming way back in 2002.

However, considering the negative brand of cricket Cook is bound to, England’s general lack of form and India’s inexperience, both in England and of winning away, means a dead heat looks likely.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.