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India vs England first Test tips and suggested bets: Hard to go against the hosts

India welcome England to the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad for the first Test of a five-match series and Planet Sport has a fistful of top selections for the big clash.

The hosts are far more formidable than the India side that lost a home series to England back in the 2012/13 season and they start as heavy favourites to win both this first match and the series.

England have not played a Test at this ground before but the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium pitch generally starts out quite good to bat on with an average first innings score of 405.

India have not lost at the venue which has staged five Tests and they have won the last four.

Both sides have star men absent for personal reasons with Virat Kohli skipping the first two Tests and England's Harry Brook allowed to go home with a similar rationale.

The action starts at 0400 GMT on Thursday, January 25, so set your alarms.


India vs England first Test: Suggested bets

When it comes to the tourists batting there will be several reasons that England might be nervous ahead of the first Test.

They haven't covered themselves in glory when batting in India and quite a few of them are yet to play a Test in India.

However, one man stands out among the inexperienced with Joe Root having a decent record behind him playing Test cricket in India.

Backing Root to be England's top scorer isn't going to net you extreme value but it looks like a safe option.

India might look to fight fire with fire against England's Bazball tactics and one man well suited to that style is Shubman Gill, who has already struck more than half of his 1040 Test runs in boundaries.

Gill will come in at first drop and is likely to be looking to counterattack to deal a big blow to the England bowlers.

While England will still require their quicks to get through a lot of work, most interest around the bowling attack centres around young spinner Rehan Ahmed who has made a good start to his Test career.

With conditions likely to suit him he looks like a good option to end up as the tourist's top wicket-taker.

In the second innings at this ground, we would expect the spinners to dominate but India have highlighted the importance of the role played by Jasprit Bumrah to start the Test.

The pitch should initially play quite hard and bouncy and Bumrah could be the one who exploits the speed to take the most wickets for India in the first innings.


India vs England first Test predictions:

- India to win

- Rehan Ahmed - top England wicket taker

Jasprit Bumrah - top India wicket taker

Shubman Gill - top India run scorer

- Joe Root - top England run scorer


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