Test match Cricket returns to England next week with a recently resurgent West Indies side providing the opposition for Andrew Strauss and his men.
As you would expect, the start of the County Championship season has been met with the traditional English summer weather of cloud and rain. With many County games already suffering washouts this campaign it is a surprise to see that that William Hill and Bet365 are offering odds of 5/2 for the first Test to end as a draw.
Despite the rain looking to play an influential role at Lords next week, many bookies are still backing England to get the result and get their summer off to the best start. However, best odds of 3/5 with Bwin do not represent good value despite the hosts dominance on paper.
A Bowler’s Dream
There have been three County games played at Lords so far this season with only one innings seeing over 300 runs scored. With the overcast conditions and the consistent breaks in play because of rain, this summer has proved a nightmare for batsman as they struggle to get settled at the crease.
With both England and the West Indies showing batting fragility in recent times, look to back the bowlers to thrive in these conditions.
James Anderson has been England’s tormentor in chief in overcast conditions and he will have everything in his favour to skittle the West Indies top order. Overcast conditions mean the ball will swing, and with the Lords slope destined to also play a major part in proceedings, odds of 5/2 (with Ladbrokes) for Anderson to finish the Test as England’s top bowler represent decent value.
The West Indies also have a very strong bowling unit which must not be underestimated. Fidel Edwards has caused England problems down the years and if he can remain fit for the entire series, Ladbrokes odds of 4/1 for him to finish as West Indies top bowler are worth backing as he also looks to take advantage of the seamer friendly conditions.
More Middle Order Woes
With England’s batsmen having limited time in the middle because of the weather, they have been denied the opportunity of putting the demons of last winter to bed and getting vital match practice before the first Test match.
It looks hard to see many batsmen flourishing in the first Test but Kevin Pietersen is the one England batsman who has had time in the middle recently, albeit coming in the form of 20/20 Cricket in the IPL. However, the former captain has found some form and momentum while in India making Paddy Power‘s odds of 10/3 for him to finish the first Test as Englands top batsman good value.
West Indian batsman though, have been denied the opportunity of finding form in England, with their warm up game at Hove being washed out after only a few hours play and the England Lions having success against their top order. To pick one batsman to finish as their leading run scorer for the series would be very hard to choose and on that basis not worth backing.
Overall, I would expect England to take the series 1-0, with rain providing the main resistance. You can find odds of 13/2 with BetVictor for this series outcome. However if you fancy just taking the home side outright, Betfair offer unappealing odds of 6/25 for a series victory.