After a hard-fought battle at Lord’s, England and the West Indies venture up to Trent Bridge to resume hostilities. Betfair’s Ed Hawkins, the SJA Betting Writer Of The Year, takes a look at how both sides are shaping up ahead of the second Test and does his best to steer you towards some smart punts.
There are no changes required for the home side, even if there has been some debate about whether they are ‘carrying’ Tim Bresnan. There is the possibility that Durham’s Graham Onions or Middlesex’s Steven Finn could replace the Yorkshire allrounder as Onions’ swing or Finn’s extra pace and height might make the most of the usually bowler-friendly Nottingham conditions, but there is so little in it this would be tinkering for tinkering’s sake.
Andrew Strauss, the captain, got the monkey off his back with an excellent century in the victory at Lord’s in the first Test. That means that England go into this Test with the rare luxury of no media griping about the form of an individual batsman. Wonder how long that will last?
The tourists have called up Tino Best, the fast bowler, who is often labelled as a ‘character’ (check out his Twitter feed if you haven’t done already. It makes for entertaining reading). For ‘character’ read ‘unpredictable’. He is quick and has an even faster temper but is unlikely to play.
Ravi Rampaul is the key man for West Indies. They need to get him fit as he is their finest exponent of swing bowling and Trent Bridge is expected to offer assistance. Shane Shillingford, the spinner, could play if Rampaul doesn’t make it as Shannon Gabriel has returned home with a stress fracture.
Venue And Conditions
The average first-innings score at Trent Bridge in the last 10 years (nine matches) is 337. That is misleading as the nature of the pitch has changed. Over the last five Tests the figure is 274 as, oddly, the redevelopment of the ground has assisted swing bowlers. England have themselves struggled on this ground but it is difficult not to reckon that an inexperienced West Indies batting line-up will struggle to breach 300. The weather forecast is fine with no rain expected on the first two days.
If Rampaul and Kemar Roach can be handed the new ball then West Indies, who must bowl first, have the potential to trade lower than 10.50 (9/1). We do not expect them to win the Test, however, as they have been a side capable of hanging on until late on day four before succumbing. They did this at Lord’s and the recent series against Australia.
England, of course, are no fun at 1.33 while the draw at 6.00 (5/1) is another trade option. Look at the skies for the clue as to how to wager this one. If the sun is out, runs should be scored. If there is cloud then it will be tricky.
England were bowled out for 221 against India batting first at this venue last summer and it was down to Stuart Broad (64) and Graeme Swann (28) to get them towards respectability. It served as a good reminder that England can struggle too when the ball moves, so this is not a market to play until we know the conditions better. For example, one wouldn’t bet on Alastair Cook or Strauss if skies are grey.
As expected, Shivnarine Chanderpaul was in his best barnacle form at HQ. His 87 and 91 have ensured a starting price of around 2.60 (1/1). The 5.10 (4/1) about Any Other may be worth a go as Denesh Ramdin and Darren Sammy could do a Broad-Swann.