England ODI and Middlesex captain Eoin Morgan suggested that the Lords pitch could be very similar to the one we saw in Birmingham earlier this week, and he’s fully expecting both spin and reverse swing to play a massive role. 

If England held their chances against India at Edgbaston they would have cruised to victory, however they were made to work mainly due to Kohli’s excellence, and Ashwin’s trickery. However, it became obvious other than their skipper, the travelling team have a pretty weak batting line-up.

The toss will play a vital role and the majority of shrewd punters will wait for this to take place before putting their money on the table. In the current conditions, it’s hard to see any team chasing over 200 to win in the second innings. However, I’ve not got the luxury of waiting for the toss, and I’m siding with England, even without Stokes.  

This is largely due to India’s batting. Get Kohli early on and I think England can run riot. Rashid only bowled 12 overs in the first test, taking three wickets. With more turn expected, he will play a much bigger role. If Chris Woakes gets the nod over Ali then the swap for Stokes doesn’t worry me. They’re very similar with the ball, and the former vice-captain hasn’t been reliable with the bat of late. 

England - 2pts @ 21/20

Joe Root averages just a tad over 56 at Lords, and a touch under 60 in first innings. The Yorkshire man looked in little trouble before a mix-up in the first test cost him his wicket on day one. He's still however a fair price to notch a half-century first time around here.

Joe Root 1st Innings 50 - 1pt @ 6/5

Ravischandran Ashwin looked unplayable at times in the first test, and if Eoin Morgan’s pitch review is anything to go by, he’ll play a crucial role at Lords. Even if India bowl first he’ll be into the attack very early, especially if Cook is still at the crease. It offers some serious consideration to back him to be the top Indian bowler.

Ravischandran Ashwin Top Indian Bowler - 2pts @ 5/2

At 20/1, Chris Woakes offers some serious value which is normally hard to come by in cricket betting (if selected ahead of Ali). Virat Kohli proved in the first test that it’s very hard to be awarded man of the match if you’re on the losing team. Sam Curran claimed the prize after taking five wickets and scoring 87 runs in the game. 

Woakes has fond memories of Lords, he scored a first innings 66 against Sri Lanka, and contributed with valuable runs against Pakistan. With the ball, Woakes averages 10 at the ground, taking 14 wickets in just 61 overs.

Chris Woakes Man Of The Match - 1pt @ 20/1