Westley could enhance Ashes claims
England new boy eager to cash in
Sky Sports Cricket, 11am Friday
The West Indies lost 19 wickets on day three of the first Test against England, collapsing to an innings defeat, and it is hard to see their batting unit recovering in the second match of the series at Headingley.
Last summer’s visitors to Leeds, Sri Lanka, were bowled out for 91 and 119 and the Windies are 25-1 to bounce back from their day-night disaster at Edgbaston with a victory.
England’s management won’t learn a great deal about their side for this winter’s Ashes unless the West Indies raise their game significantly and Joe Root’s men are 1-8 for the second Test and 2-7 to sweep the series 3-0.
They followed up an excellent victory in the series opener against South Africa with an abject display in the second Test but the Windies’ limitations were horribly exposed at Edgbaston.
A straightforward home win is on the cards and Sky Bet offer evens about an innings victory for England and 7-4 that the Windies are defeated inside three days once again.
England’s dominant display in the first Test means bookmakers are taking few chances with the hosts in the specials betting.
The West Indies are 6-1 to claim a first-innings lead, 4-1 to have the highest individual score of the match, and the runs line for their opening partnership in the first innings is as low as 17.5.
Root is just 2-5 with bet365 to reach 50 in either innings for the 12th consecutive Test – a feat that would equal the record held by South Africa’s AB de Villiers.
There is a little more juice in the 9-4 about Tom Westley scoring a half-century in England’s first innings.
This Test series is unlikely to live long in the memory given the West Indies’ travails but the matches at Headingley and Lord’s are significant milestones in the careers of Westley and fellow batsmen Mark Stoneman and Dawid Malan.
The three will be desperate to score heavily and nail down their places in the team for the tour of Australia and Westley, pinned lbw for eight in the first match, could cash in this time.
The Essex man had a decent debut against South Africa, scoring 25 and 59 at The Oval before falling for 29 to a stunning Quinton de Kock catch in the first innings at Old Trafford.
Much has been made of Westley’s propensity to play through the leg side but that is the technique that brought him success at county level – and a subsequent England call-up.
He didn’t look out of his depth against a classy South Africa bowling attack and has an ideal opportunity to kick on against a West Indian bowling unit that dished out plenty of gifts during England’s first innings of 514-8 declared at Edgbaston.
Stuart Broad described his second innings in Birmingham as “probably the best 40 minutes of bowling I’ve had this summer” and the 11-8 that he captures at least three wickets in the Windies’ first dig at Leeds is worth a bet.
Broad took 2-47 and 3-34 in the first Test, having claimed three scalps in South Africa’s first innings in the fourth Test at Old Trafford.
His Test record across the Pennines at Headingley is excellent, with first-innings figures of 4-21, 5-109, 3-46, 2-57, 3-96, 6-91 and 1-114 in seven appearances and he should trouble the tourists’ batsmen.
T Westley to score a first-innings fifty
1pt 9-4 Hills
S Broad to take three or more first-innings wickets
2pts 11-8 Ladbrokes
The draw is an 8-1 chance and 16 of the last 17 Tests at Headingley have produced a positive result.
England beat Sri Lanka by an innings and 88 runs last year despite posting only 298 in the first innings of the Test but they have lost four of their last seven at the Yorkshire venue.
Remarkably, Joe Root’s last three Test innings at his home ground have been one, nought and nought but that anomaly may well be put right against a modest West Indian bowling attack.
Toby Roland-Jones makes way for the fit-again Chris Woakes as England shuffle their pace attack but leg-spinner Mason Crane is unlikely to make his Test debut in Leeds.
The Windies will welcome back Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels for the one-day series but there are fewer batting options in the Test squad so the side demolished at Edgbaston could be given another chance.
The forecast for all five days in Leeds is cloudy but dry with the occasional sunny interval.