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Sunday, 20 January, 2019

Fast bowlers could help India level up Test series at the Rose Bowl

Ajinkya Rahane can rack up the runs against England

Jasprit Bumrah (second left) takes the plaudits after his five-wicket haul at Trent Bridge
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Fourth Test
Sky Sports Cricket, 11am Thursday

India roared back from a drubbing at Lord's with an excellent all-round display to beat England at Trent Bridge and Virat Kohli's side are aiming to level up the series at the Rose Bowl.

An India victory in Hampshire would make it 2-2 with the fifth Test at The Oval to come and the tourists' fast bowlers should relish another crack at the home batsmen.

India's quicks outbowled England at Trent Bridge, a venue that the hosts usually love, and with the peerless Kohli receiving more support from his fellow batsmen, the visitors may well set up a series decider.

Best bets
England flirted with defeat in the first Test at Edgbaston, eventually winning a topsy-turvy Test by 31 runs, but their batting was blown away in Nottingham.

India's victory margin of 203 runs would have been even wider but for a gutsy second-innings stand of 169 between Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler as the return of Jasprit Bumrah added further bite to the visiting bowling attack.

Bumrah's five-wicket haul in the second innings included a couple of absolute rippers to get rid of Jonny Bairstow and Chris Woakes and he should come on for the run, having missed the first two Tests through injury.

The young paceman made his Test debut in South Africa in January, claiming 5-54 in Johannesburg in only his third appearance, and his ability to clean up the tail makes him a tempting top wicket-taker bet.

Ajinkya Rahane came into this series short of runs but he battled his way to 81 and 29 at Trent Bridge and looks overpriced to reach 50 in the first innings.

The middle-order man, who fell to a blinding slip catch by Alastair Cook in the first innings of the third Test, has an excellent overseas batting average of 48.

Six of his nine Test centuries have been scored away from home, as have ten of his 13 fifties, including 54 and 52 not out at the Rose Bowl in 2014.

2pts 9-5 Betfair
J Bumrah top India first-innings wicket-taker
1pt 100-30 Paddy Power, Sky Bet
A Rahane to score a first-innings fifty
1pt 3-1 Hills

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The Rose Bowl has hosted only two Tests, a rain-hit draw with Sri Lanka in 2011 and a 266-run win for England against India in 2014.

The hosts piled up 569-7 batting first in that game, with big tons for Gary Ballance and Ian Bell, but fast bowlers have had success at the Hampshire venue this summer, other than on a lifeless pitch in the day-night County Championship stalemate with Yorkshire.

Team news
Bairstow (broken finger) will play as a specialist batsman with Buttler keeping wicket. Woakes (thigh) has been replaced by Sam Curran and Moeen Ali comes in for Ollie Pope.

Ravichandran Ashwin (hip) has recovered so India could name an unchanged 11 for the first time in Kohli's 39 Tests as captain.

Light cloud on day one with showers likely to disrupt day two. Days three, four and five should be sunny with temperatures ranging from 20-26C.

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Bumrah's five-wicket haul in the second innings included a couple of absolute rippers to get rid of Jonny Bairstow and Chris Woakes
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