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Cricket: India v Sri Lanka Test Series Preview


India v Sri Lanka, two-match Test series 

March 4 – March 16, 2022 

First Test, March 4-8

Punjab Cricket Association Stadium, Mohali (4am UK)

India head into this series as overwhelming favourites, 1/9 to win the series outright with bet365 and 1/3 to win it 2-0 on the correct score market.

Despite losing their last series 2-1 in South Africa at the start of the year, Rohit Sharma’s charges are formidable at home.

In the last five years, they have only lost one Test Match on home soil, against England last February in Chennai. In that time, they have won 15 Tests against the likes of Australia, England, West Indies, South Africa and New Zealand.

Factor in that Sri Lanka have never won a Test in India – albeit over only 20 matches – and you can see why the odds are stacked so heavily in the home side’s favour. 

There is little value in the winners market, unless you fancy Sri Lanka to spring a surprise at 33/1, which I don’t. 

Ashwin’s home record is outstanding

Veteran off-spinner Ravi Ashwin looks set to play in this week’s opening Test following a recent injury.

Ashwin pulled out midway through the ODI series in South Africa in January through an unspecified injury, but the noises from the Indian camp suggest he is set to return.

The 35-year-old only claimed three wickets in South Africa, but his recent recent in home Tests is staggeringly good.

In his last six home Tests, since the start of 2021 – against England and New Zealand, he has taken 46 wickets.

That is a stat which is difficult to ignore. 

He leads bet365’s market to India’s top series bowler at 7/4, and it is a price I would be taking.

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Can King Kohli celebrate career landmark in grand style and break long run without a century? 

Virat Kohli will play his 100th Test Match in the opening fixture of the series, at Mohali. 

And what a player he has been. He has gone beyond 100 on 27 occasions in his 99 appearances so far. But the wait for number 28 has been a long and arduous one.

His last century in any cricket came in a home Test against Bangladesh in November 2019. That is a run of 15 Tests without posting a hundred. Since then, he has relinquished the captaincy.

However, his career record against Sri Lanka is outstanding. In nine Tests against them, he has scored 1,004 runs at an average of 77.23. 

He has posted three centuries and two double centuries against them.

Kohli watched Joe Root score a double century against India in his 100th Test last year, and it has all the makings of a return to form at just the right time for the star of Indian cricket.

Now Kohli is 12/5 with bet365 to be India’s top run-scorer. The thing which would concern me here is that he scores big, but so do others. 

Therefore, I would be happier to concentrate purely on Kohli and take the 7/2 which Ladbrokes are offering for him to score a first-innings century. That is better value anyway. 

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If he does that, it would be difficult to see anyone beating him at 11/2 to be player of the match given the occasion. bet365 are joined by the likes of betfair and Virgin bet in offering the latter price. 

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