ENGLAND’S series against Pakistan continues on Sunday from the UAE. Cricket expert Josh Healey (@joshealey04) gives us his best bets.
Pakistan v England | Third Test | 1st-5th November 2015 | Sky Sports 2
England came agonisingly close to securing a draw in Dubai but were eventually bowled out with just 6.3 overs left in the match. With Pakistan now only needing a draw in Sharjah to clinch the series, a benign surface will likely be served up. This occurred last year when the hosts played New Zealand, and it backfired spectacularly.
Pakistan’s W3-D1-L3 record at Sharjah is unconvincing. The 380 (129.5 overs) average first innings score and 192.71 (64.1 overs) average third innings score indicates the history of a good batting deck which deteriorates later on.
Although wins batting first and second have an even 3-3 split, both captains will be desperate to win the toss so they can pile on the runs. If New Zealand’s remarkable 690ao (143.1 overs) last year is anything to go by, the batsmen should fill their boots in this match.
After a sensational home summer in which he notched 34 wickets from seven games, Stuart Broad’s fortunes have somewhat capitulated in what has been a torrid tour for the seamer so far.
Bowling short spells in the relentless heat and with no assistance from the pitch, Broad has failed to settle into a rhythm. As a result he has managed just two wickets in two games. Slow, lifeless decks are the exact opposite of what he thrives on, and given we’re expecting another of those here, the Nottinghamshire man is worth taking on.
I’m backing Stuart Broad to score under 100 performance points at 5/6 with bet365. It’s a bet that would’ve landed in both Tests so far as he has accumulated point tallies of 47 and 65.
Dating back to 2012, this bet would’ve won in 22/43 (51.16%) including 11/17 away (64.71%). Broad undoubtedly operates best on home soil. The 5/6 quote implies a 54.55% chance of winning and, for me, that offers decent value.
Pakistan have lost 120/140 (85.71%) wickets at Sharjah and 34/40 (85%) this series. If this trend continues, and a pitch similar to Abu Dhabi is indeed prepared, 20 Pakistani wickets may not be up for grabs. Even if they are, the onus is likely to be on the in-form players. Although Broad is in good nick with the bat, it’s not enough to put me off as his wicket-taking threat appears nullified on this tour.
Onto England’s batting and it was no surprise to see Joe Root top score in both innings in the second Test. England are so reliant on the Cook-Root axis that when one or both of them gets out, the whole side look like rabbits in the headlights.
James Taylor is expected to replace Jos Buttler, with Jonny Bairstow taking the gloves. It’s the right call and it bolsters England’s soft underbelly, but in terms of the betting it changes nothing.
As boring and predictable as it may be, I’m backing Joe Root to claim top England batsman at 5/2 with Coral. Allow me to regurgitate the [updated]stats from the last preview.
The Yorkshireman has top scored in the first innings in 13/34 Tests (38.24%). From 2014 onwards that’s 10/19 (52.63%). Odds of 5/2 imply a 28.57% chance of winning, when in reality we’re looking more towards the 50% mark.
No one looks a serious threat to Cook and Root at the moment in this market, and while the latter continues to offer value we will continue snapping it up. Having not converted any of his three fifties yet, this could be where Root fills his boots.
Pakistan v England – Stuart Broad to win under 100 performance points (5/6 Bet365)
Pakistan v England – Joe Root to be Top England Batsman (5/2 Coral)
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