Steven Finn is set to return to the England Test fold after recovering from a thigh injury – and vice-captain Stuart Broad is the man mooted to make way.
The 23-year-old performed admirably in England Lions’ recent game in Mumbai, taking figures of 4-50 and, after bowling coach David Saker dubbed Broad’s effort with the ball in the second Test as ‘not up to scratch’, it appears the Nottinghamshire man is set to be axed.
Ladbrokes are inclined to agree, pricing the captain of the T20 side at 6/4 to keep his place while Finn is as short as 1/2 to start.
With the win in the second Test proving two spinners are essential for success in India and James Anderson reaffirmed as the team’s mainline paceman, it’s difficult to envisage how Finn and Broad can both be included.
Broad has undoubtedly been short of form on the tour to date and remains without a wicket. In fact, he’s taken just 11 Test scalps since the start of June – eight of which came in one match – at an eye-watering average of 54.00.
Confidence will already by sky-high in the England camp after drubbing the Indians in Mumbai and the injection of Finn’s pace is likely to be a further boost as the tour moves to Kolkata.
England are priced at 11/4 to avenge the eight-wicket loss they suffered the last time they took the field at Eden Gardens, while the hosts can be backed at 6/5 to bounce back with a win.
India’s Test match record at this ground is impressive – they are without defeat in eight matches here since Pakistan won in the 1998/99 Asian Championships and celebrated innings-victories in the previous two.
The draw is available at 7/4 but this is a price to ignore, even if over half of the Tests played at this venue have ended in stalemate.
Both sides have in-form spinners and are well-equipped to take 20 wickets each. The pitch at Eden Gardens has been also been subject to improvement in recent years, designed to increase the chances of a result being produced. There have only been two tied matches here in the previous 11.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date