With England and India tied at 1-1, this week’s fourth Test could prove decisive in the five-match series.
The hosts have an exemplary record at the Oval, and with the Indians traditionally struggling in Kennington, Chris Silverwood’s side could strike.
England Can Take Series Lead
After mixed showings at Trent Bridge and Lord’s, England hit back at Headingley, recording a stunning innings and 76 runs win.
The momentum looks to be with them heading into this week, and they will be looking forward to playing at the Oval, having won their last three Test appearances there.
India, meanwhile, have struggled in Kennington, losing their last eight Tests at the ground, a drought that stretches back to 1971.
The Indians haven’t become a bad team overnight, and the firmer surface at the Oval should work for them. They will also be eyeing up the similar pitch at Old Trafford.
The hosts are
5/4 to win, and that price looks justified considering the pair’s history at the ground.
Go With Joe
While doubts linger over his suitability as captain, Joe Root remains a class apart as far as the England batting line-up is concerned.
The Yorkshireman has clocked up three centuries in the current series, taking his tally for 2021 to six. With those at the top of the order regularly faltering, his input has been needed.
Root’s record at the Oval is a strange one, his last five innings producing scores of 50-0-125-57-21. That century came against India, and the way he has shaped up against the visiting attack suggests he has the edge over them.
His flawless 121 on his home ground was the score that set England up at Headingley, and he has top-scored in all five of England’s innings this series.
Rohit Remains a Threat
Despite not truly breaking out in England, the hard and fast surface at the Oval should suit Rohit Sharma.
The opener has scored half-centuries in each of the last two Tests and, at 34, seems to have developed a natural feel for Test cricket.
Rohit notched 161 when the pair met in Chennai earlier this year, and the way he nullified James Anderson in Leeds was truly impressive.
His 59 in his second innings at Headingley was dubiously upheld by the umpire’s call, and his average of 46.00 for the series shows he is shaping up well.
* All odds correct at time of writing.