Plunge on England to triumph in Lord's opener
SOMETHING of a plunge is developing on England to win the first Test of the summer against West Indies that starts on Thursday at Lord's.
Andrew Strauss's men had been a standout 4-7 with Ladbrokes on Monday night after the forecast for the five-days in St John's Wood had started to brighten and West Indies had lost their warm-up game with the Lionsby ten wickets on Sunday.
On Tuesday evening, they are no bigger thana general 4-9 even though Windies quicks Kemar Roach, Ravi Rampaul and Fidel Edwards all declared themselves fit to play.
Plenty of cloud, whichshould help Strauss’s proven pace attack prosper, is expected at Lord’s but the forecast is not too bad.
Significant rain breaks are unlikely until Monday now and bet365 offer 14-5 about the draw and Paddy Power go 10-1 about Sammy’s side shocking the top-ranked Test team in the world.
The Windies batting looked suspect at Northampton despite a century for Kieran Powell and 50s for Darren Bravo and Shiv Chanderpaul in their second innings – Bravo hit two 50s in the match – and Roach twisted his ankle on Friday and then got hit on the hand batting while Rampaul reported a stiff neck on Sunday morning and sent down only four overs.
Roach is as short as 2-1 favourite to be top West Indies’ wicket-taker at Lord’s and 11-4 with Boylesports to top their wickets -list at the end of the three-game series that continues at Trent Bridge and Edgbaston.
Rampaul has only just returned to the squad following illness and a shoulder injury.
And he replaced Edwards in last month’s third and final Test against Australia in Dominica when Edwards, who may not be up to full speed yet despite sending down 27 overs at Wantage Road, hurt his back.
Jonny Bairstow is 10-1 with Ladbrokes to top-score in England’s first innings at Lord’s if given his Test debut as expected.
It would be a surprise on an early-season pitch if the selectors suddenly opted for five bowlers and moved Matt Prior up to No. 6 rather than slotting Bairstow in for the injured Ravi Bopara.
Read Wednesday's Racing Post for James Milton's England v West Indies series preview and full betting package that includes the thoughts and recommendations of the legendary Windies fast bowler Michael Holding
Read Thursday's Racing Post for James Milton's first Test preview and full prices and stats betting package