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International Cricket - Cricket: England v India - Fifth Test preview

Fresh from thrashing New Zealand 3-0, England get a chance to show off again when they take on India in a one-off Test held over from last year at Edgbaston.

Ben Stokes and his merry band of crowd-pleasers have enjoyed a series to remember against the Black Caps and will stick to their entertaining approach against the Indians in the fifth and final Test of a series that the visitors lead 2-1.

What:

England v India, Fifth Test

Where:

Edgbaston, Birmingham

When:

10:30, Friday 1st July, 2022

How to Watch:

Sky Sports Main Event

Odds:

England 10/11, India 11/5, Draw 7/2 

10 months late – but worth the wait?

England's showdown with India from Edgbaston is the final act of last summer's five-match Test series, which was cut short after four contests with India leading 2-1.

India had just taken the lead courtesy of a crushing 157-run win over Joe Root's England at The Oval and were confident of piling more misery on the Three Lions.

Fast forward 10 months, however, and the series finale has a very different look to it.

England, after enduring a winter to forget in Australia and West Indies, look to have been reborn under head coach Brendon McCullum and new skipper Stokes and head to Birmingham on the back of a thrilling 3-0 whitewash of New Zealand.

India, meanwhile, are no longer captained by Virat Kohli and come into this rearranged tussle on the back of one low-key warm-up game against Leicestershire.

England are 10/11 to win in Edgbaston and square the series with India 11/5. The draw is priced at 7/2.

New test for England's cabaret stars

Stokes and McCullum pledged it would be a fun ride under them when they were appointed and they have been true to their word thus far.

England's new-look leadership knew something had to change after a dismal winter and the early signs are that their live-by-the-sword, die-by-the-sword approach is going to be a breath of fresh air.

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Purists may question whether it's sustainable, but it is a case of so far, so good after three matches against New Zealand, all wins and all great fun.

Root, unencumbered by the grind of captaincy, looked back to his old self with 396 runs, recalls for Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad proved successful, Ollie Pope came of age as a batsman, Matty Potts took his chance as a bowler of real pace while Jonny Bairstow produced a trio of free-wheeling masterclasses that demonstrate he won't be shackled by any bowling attack – and New Zealand's is one of the best.

Even Jack Leach took 10 wickets in the Third Test at Headingley, a vital return to form before he pits his wits against an India batting line-up who know a thing or two about playing spin.

India have decisions to make

While England could quite easily and happily go to Birmingham and name an unchanged side, India have a number of conundrums to solve.

The first is the health and wellbeing of Rohit Sharma, their new captain whose influence at the top of the order is critical, especially with KL Rahul a non-runner through injury.

Mayank Agarwal has been called up but India would be reluctant to throw him in after just a couple of net sessions.

The form of Chetashwar Pujara, not so long ago one of the first names on the Indian team sheet, is also a concern and he no longer is assured of a place at No.3. Indeed, he was axed altogether for the recent series against Sri Lanka which India won impressively, 2-0.

The other veteran no longer guaranteed a start is off-spinner Ravi Ashwin, a man with 442 Test match wickets to his name but who sat out all four Tests in England last summer when the tourists' selectors opted for a greater emphasis on pace, a policy that evidently came off.

Leach's 10-wicket haul at Headingley amid a fairly dry summer might just persuade India to get Ashwin into their eleven.

Momentum with Stokes' men

Whoever gets the nod for India, they are unquestionably under-prepared with one or two key men out of nick and others not fit.

Throw in the fact that England have got their self-belief back and the home team look the bet.

England were skittled for 141 by the Kiwis at Lord's and won, and conceded a mammoth 553 at Trent Bridge and won. Where they used to find new and unique way of losing, now the pendulum has swung the other way and they are creatively conjuring up means to win.

That makes them dangerous and they are hard to resist.

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