Sir Ian Botham is backing England to bounce back and square the Investec Series with India when the third Test gets underway at the Ageas Bowl on Sunday.
England’s winless run in Test cricket extended to a 10th game with defeat to India at Lord’s, their first win away from home in 15 Tests and only second-ever at the Home of Cricket.
The England selectors have retained under-fire Alastair Cook as captain for the Southampton showdown and Beefy is backing Cook to lead his side to a much-needed win, which would square the series 1-1 with two more matches to play.
He says: “I fancy England to bounce back this week. I expect the pitch to be faster with plenty of bounce and carry, playing into the hands of the England bowlers.”
Beefy has once again put his faith in James Anderson to be England’s top first-innings wicket-taker having landed the bet in each of the first two Tests of the series.
Anderson, currently on 364 Test wickets and closing in on Botham’s all-time England record of 383, has taken nine wickets in the series so far and is 9/4 with Sky Bet to be England’s leading first-innings wicket-taker.
As for the run-scorers market, Botham expects Ian Bell to return to form at the Ageas Bowl.
Bell has been out of nick so far this summer, scoring just two half-centuries in four Tests and is approaching 12 months without a century.
But Botham said: “Ian Bell is too good a player not to get some big runs in this series. He stands-out as the value bet at 4/1 and just needs a bit of luck to go his way.