After four Tests, a T20 international and the small matter of ten ODI’s, India and England must be sick of the sight of one another. And yet there’s always time to squeeze in one more cheeky forty-over romp…
After completing a 5-0 whitewash in the ODI series there could have been pressure on India to go on and finish the clean sweep. Luckily, they don’t really care about this game: Gautim Gambhir will be absent getting married, while Parthiv Patel had already promised his missus that he’d take her shopping and Ravindra Jadeja is helping one of his friends move house. In their places we’ll see the likes of Robin Uthappa and Yusuf Pathan.
Varun Aaron has the opportunity to continue to make a name for himself, after his plan of bowling fast and straight proved far too sophisticated for the England batsmen in the ODI series.
With Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott already on the way home, reinforcements have arrived in the form of Alex Hales and Jos Buttler. Expect both to play – England aren’t the sort to drag players halfway around the world just to carry drinks.
With KP likely to miss out with a fractured thumb Ian Bell may get an opportunity to try and force his way back in. Jade Dernbach may find the shorter game more to his liking after a poor ODI series while the Samit Patel experiment may finally reach its inevitable grisly conclusion.
Something that may help motivate Graeme Swann’s England side for one final push is the fact that they will lose their #1 ranking in T20 cricket with a defeat here.
Regardless of the result, the main point of discussion is likely to be ‘where were the crowd?’ Our record of predictions isn’t great – we once put a tenner on Alex Loudon becoming England’s all-time leading wicket-taker – so we’re going for a massive India win here, despite an attention-grabbing knock from Alex Hales.