Edgbaston will host the fourth ODI between England and India and captain Alistair Cook will no doubt be keen to avoid a repeat of the last meeting between the two at the home of Warwickshire.
The visitors were victorious by 5 runs in Birmingham last summer, with Cook out after just two runs when he was caught by Ravinchandran Ashwin. One year on, however, and England will be confident and if you feel like backing them Coral will give you a free £20 bet, if you bet £5 today.
England’s record at Edgbaston is fairly impressive, winning 19 ODI’s and losing 12 with three non-results and one postponement. Their record against India in the West Midlands, however, favours the away side with India winning two of the three ODI’s at the ground.
The pair’s first meeting at The County Ground was in back in May 1999 during the ICC World Cup with the Men in Blue winning by a comfortable 63 runs.
India then returned to Edgbaston in 2007 as part of their tour of Ireland, England and Scotland. It was the home side who triumphed this time, however, taking a 2-1 lead in the seven match series between the two nations.
Last year’s ICC Champions Trophy Final, meanwhile, saw India emerge victorious once again 129-124. Ravi Bopara was one of England’s highest scorers that day with 30 runs before he too was caught by Ashwin.
The 29-year-old will not have the opportunity to better that performance this year, however, after his surprise exclusion from the 15-man squad. He was expected to be included in the side, particularly after his century scoring performance for England Lions against Sri Lanka A in Worcester one week before the series squad was announced.
The experienced all rounder, who has 108 ODI appearances to his name, was overlooked in favour of Alex Hales. His impressive form this year for Nottinghamshire did not go unnoticed by selectors despite his lack of 50-over international experience.
The 25-year-old has been in superb form in County limited-overs cricket and is a regular England Twenty20 squad member but he was uncapped at ODI level prior to the start of the series. Should Hales seize his opportunity during the series it will further dent Bopara’s chances of making the World Cup squad this winter.
With just six months to go until the England begin their tour of Australia and New Zealand time is running out. The Essex star will be paying close attention to the ODI series between England and India, knowing he will maintain his recent form and show his consistency if he is to keep his international career alive.