It looked desperate for England following a big Indian first innings total coupled with a poor start, but Alistair Cook’s men ultimately managed to secure a draw in the First Test with India at Trent Bridge. The real story of the four days was the record breaking last wicket partnership from James Anderson and Joe Root, which completely turned the match on its head. This pairing managed to put on 198, beating the previous record of 163 set by Phil Hughes and Ashton Agar of Australia at Trent Bridge last year. Captain Alistair Cook began this match under a huge amount of pressure, and when he was dismissed during England’s first innings for just five runs various pundits were calling for his head. By the end of the match however, there was a real feel good factor around the camp and Cook even had a bowl once the result was secure, taking a wicket in the process!
While it’s not all rosy for England as this result extended their winless run to nine matches, coming back from an almost impossible position will have given the squad a massive confidence boost. Obviously, they are going to need to build on this in the second test otherwise all the hard work will be for nothing, and it will be crucial that they carry this positivity into the second Test which kicks off next Thursday. The bookmakers were obviously impressed with England’s display and Betfair make the hosts odds on at 8/15 to end their terrible run of results and win this second Test match against India. Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s side are available at the 7/5 mark and will definitely appeal to some punters as the value bet in this encounter.
England have made the decision to recall left arm spinner Simon Kerrigan for the second Test at Lords and that looks like a wise call considering that they definitely looked lacking in that department during the first Test. The only addition to the squad from last week, Kerrigan has just the one previous appearance for the English when conceding 53 runs from eight overs against Australia last year. The spinner did perform with credit during the Lions tour of Sri Lanka during the winter however, and arguably deserves another shot at the highest level. England have been unable to find a suitable replacement for the retired Graeme Swann as yet, with Moeen Ali unable to really make the role his own. Cook will be hoping that Simon Kerrigan can vindicate his decision and show his best form at Lords.
There are no two ways about it, the England cricket team are going through a very difficult period but there were signs in the first Test against Indian that their decline is not terminal. The fact that bookies such as Betfair believe that England are favourites for victory in the second Test shows that positives can be taken from that most recent performance. With four Tests still to play against India, a defeat would not mathematically end England’s chances of winning the series, but I personally believe this is a must win match for the home nation.