Headingley Offers England Some Much Needed Hope

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England and India meet this week in a crucial third Test at Headingley, with the hosts in need of some inspiration if they want to retain hopes of winning the Series.

England's Joe Root

England may only be 1-0 down going into this week’s third Test with India, but the hosts have been very much second best in the opening two matches.

The weather played a significant part in the opening draw at Trent Bridge, but a thrilling finish at Lord’s led to the tourists taking a series advantage.

The two teams head to Leeds – where England have won three of their last four Tests – for the crucial third Test and England need a big lift to give themselves some hope of claiming a series victory.

Yorkshire Contingent Can Play Key Role

Joe Root has been head-and-shoulders above anyone in the England camp, scoring 386 runs in the four innings to date and his influence will be crucial in the third Test.

Not only is he on top form, but the skipper is also playing on his home ground and will have the vociferous support of the home fans in what should be a tremendous atmosphere.

Root has already bagged two centuries in the series and is 6/4 to be Top First Innings Batsman for the hosts.

Following his consistently good form in the white-ball formats, the 31-year-old was recalled to the Test arena and this is his chance to earn a place on the plane for this winter’s Ashes series.

Bairstow claimed a first innings half-century in the defeat at Lord’s and is another who should flourish from playing on home soil.

Another Yorkshire batsman, Dawid Malan, has been recalled for the Headingley Test after a dismal showing from the top order in recent months. The world’s top-ranked T20 batsman can be backed at 5/1 to score 100+ runs in the first innings.

In-Form Mahmood Could Make an Impact

England’s bowling options have been decimated in recent months, with Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer, Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes currently unavailable.

Now a shoulder injury to Mark Wood means more changes are needed and limited-overs paceman Saqib Mahmood could get his chance with the red ball.

The Lancashire bowler has impressed both internationally and in The Hundred this summer, but this would be the ultimate test of his skills against arguably the best top-order batting line-up in world cricket.

Root says Mahmood “could not be in a better place” to play Test cricket for the first time, with the 24-year-old 7/2 to be England’s Top First Innings bowler.

Kohli Due a Big Score

Virat Kohli heads to Leeds having failed to score more than 42 in his three innings in this series and now could be the time that the India skipper steps up.

Kohli, who has never played a five-day game at Headingley, has gone 17 Test innings without a century and has scored just three half-centuries during that run.

The Indian skipper is too good to be kept out of the headlines much longer and can be backed at 5/6 to score over 35.5 in the first innings and is 7/1 to be Man of the Match.

* All odds correct at time of writing.

Warren has been employed as a sport journalist for over two decades and as well as years of written experience, has also worked in other areas of the media including radio and television. Football has always been his number one passion, but has also commentated and written on a number of other sports including golf, cricket, tennis and rugby.

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