Challenge about to get stiffer as India take on England

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After a one-sided start to England's white-ball summer, the challenge is about to get ramped up rather higher with the arrival of Virat Kohli's India. A focussed squad has just dispatched Ireland with dismissive ease in two T20s, and will rock up at Old Trafford on Tuesday evening where the baking summer heat and improbably dry surface is bound to make them feel more at home than might ordinarily have been the case.

But England are on a roll nonetheless - six wins in a row over Australia has given them form and focus, while the promotion of Jos Buttler to open the innings in T20 was an instant success at Edgbaston. Their form has been erratic in T20s since they reached the World T20 final in Kolkata in 2016, but it is rare that they have been able to put out a full-strength side in that time. No doubt they will be on the ball for this one.

For that reason, England are slender favourites to take the three-match series - 4/6 to 6/5, while they are equally wafer-thin market-leaders for the opening match itself - 8/11 to 11/10.

The identity of the probable Man of the Matches show an equally tight field. Buttler leads the way on 7/1, with Kohli close behind him on 15/2. Rohit Sharma and Jason Roy match one another at 9/1, likewise Shikhar Dhawan and Alex Hales at 10/1.

The more interesting names are further down the field. Jonny Bairstow is out at 18/1, largely on account of him moving down the order to accommodate Buttler, but if England lose early wickets, he's in the sort of form to produce a matchwinning knock. And Liam Plunkett's deck-hitting pace could be good for some mid-innings breakthroughs - at 20/1, he's worth a fiver of your readies.

As for Adil Rashid, he's an anomaly. A distant 16/1 to be Man of the Match, and yet a 13/5 favourite to be England's leading wicket-taker in the series. Whatever happens, it'll be compelling viewing.