The final Test of the English summer will be played at the Oval, starting this Friday. England secured a series victory at the Rose Bowl last weekend, but this match still carries a lot of weight.

India will be desperate to avoid a 4-1 thumping. Their flight home will be a lot nicer if it finishes 3-2.

England wave goodbye to their all-time highest run scorer and former captain, Alastair Cook. Cook has struggled all series, and looked drained in the last Test, but is definitely worth a bet at 8/1. He has a knack for the timely knock, and one last Test century would be a perfect farewell to one of the greats.

Selection was the other big headline ahead of this Test. England head to Sri Lanka in just a few weeks and may well be searching for two new openers.

Regardless, they decided against making any changes to the squad, and will probably name the same XI that played in Southampton, with Jos Buttler retaining the gloves and Moeen Ali batting at three.

Keaton Jennings, who managed to at least occupy the crease in the second innings of the Fourth Test, is still under severe pressure. Before Cook’s announcement, many expected Rory Burns to come in for Jennings here.

The Surrey batsman passed 1000 Championship runs this week and will almost certainly be named in the touring squad for Sri Lanka. Jennings is 17/20 to score over 20.5 first innings runs.

The best England bet in the over/under runs market has to be Buttler. After all the criticism over his selection, the Lancashire man has been superb.

Combining innings building with his striking ability, Buttler has confirmed himself as a long-term fixture in this England side. 17/20 on Buttler to score over 27.5 runs looks great value.

The top batsman market is led by the best in the world – and the highest run scorer in the series – Virat Kohli. Kohli sits at 4/1, followed by Joe Root at 6/1.

It’s hard to argue with anyone who wants to back Kohli, but Root might offer the better value, particularly if he bats at four, where he has a significantly higher average than at three.

At slightly longer odds, Ajinkya Rahane (14/1) and Moeen Ali (12/1) are good options. Rahane has looked composed even in the toughest batting conditions.

Moeen is in great form with the bat after a double hundred with Worcestershire, and could carry over his brilliant performance in Southampton into the Fifth Test.

In the bowling markets, Jasprit Bumrah at 6/1 to be first innings top bowler stands out. Bumrah’s unorthodox action, difficult angle and ability to get lateral movement has troubled much of the England line-up.

His 21/20 price to get more wickets than Jimmy Anderson is decent, too, though betting against Anderson in potentially favourable conditions is a risky business.

Moeen to get the better of Ravichandran Ashwin at 11/10 is a brilliant price. Ashwin struggled at the Rose Bowl, while Moeen took nine wickets to win England the Test.

On a spin friendly surface, it’s no overstatement to say that the difference in their performances was the difference between the two sides.

India look a decent price at 39/20 to win the Test, but this has been a close fought series and it’s very hard to call it either way.  For the romantics, Cook to win Man of the Match is the best bet at the Oval at 9/1. His 17/20 price to score over 77.5 total runs might be appealing too.

 

*Odds subject to change - correct at time of writing*

About the Author
By
Sam Cox

Sam is a freelance sports writer, specialising in football, cricket and Formula One.

 
He follows most sports, but particularly enjoys those on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean – namely baseball, basketball and American football. Watching, writing and talking about sport takes up most of his time, whether that is for a day out at T20 Finals Day or settling down for Super Sunday and Redzone.

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