England To Kickstart Series With Victory

Anderson will be aiming to fire again

History will be made at Edgbaston when England face off against the West Indies as the first day/night Test match to be played in the country begins.

Four matches have been played in the newest variation of the game, with three games having taken place in Australia. However, for the first time England will host one of the contests and will be aiming kick start the series with a victory over Jason Holder’s men.

The ECB allowed the majority of the players to compete in a round of day/night matches in the County Championship, although the weather restricted the majority of the action.

As a result, most of the players from both sides will come into the contest not knowing what to expect from conditions and more importantly the pink ball.

Pundits have suggested that the version of the ball offers more movement than its red counterpart in the early stages before it stops abruptly. One of the telling factors was the amount of early wickets in the County Championship – therefore we could see a change in tactics by both teams.

England will hand a debut to Mark Stoneman as he becomes the 12th man to partner Alastair Cook at the top of the innings since Andrew Strauss’ retirement in 2012. He is replacing his former Durham team-mate Keaton Jennings in the side and will be desperate to make a strong impression.

Chris Woakes is vying for a recall to the side after recovering from a side strain that ruled him out the ICC Champions Trophy and the South Africa series. Leg-spinner Mason Crane is also pushing for his England bow, although Moeen Ali’s form could keep him out of the picture.

England’s Top Batsman

Cook shone against the pink ball

The pink ball made life difficult for opening batsmen in the County Championship round of matches. As a result, Stoneman and Cook will be tested even though the West Indies’ bowlers are not quite of the ability of South Africa’s Vernon Philander, Morne Morkel and Kagiso Rabada.

The movement of the ball did not trouble Cook in his innings. He scored 193 for Essex against Middlesex, allowing his side to ease to a comfortable victory. Should he keep his wicket after the opening 20 over there’s no reason why the 32-year-old should not be able to rack up the runs.

Cook’s form against South Africa was up and down, although he was exposed at the top of the innings. He averaged 33.50 and scored two fifties, but was undone by the pace and bounce of Morkel several times during the series. Holder’s men should be more forgiving than their South African counterparts, which should give him a better chance to accumulate higher scores.

England will want their senior man operating at the peak of his powers before the Ashes. Cook is not usually one to let them down and could be poised for a big innings, with odds of +350   with SkyBet to lead the run column at Edgbaston.

Ben Stokes is also worth watching with the bat following his fine form against the Proteas. If the pink ball plays true to form then his runs down the order could be crucial. He made quality controlled runs to guide England to victory over South Africa and he will be desperate to maintain his form.

West Indies’ Top Batsman

Holder’s men arrive in England without several of their main men, including Chris Gayle. As a result, the West Indies need their younger players to thrive if they are to have any chance of beating the Three Lions.

Roston Chase has enjoyed an impressive start to his Test career, averaging 48.53 in his 10 Test matches to date. The 25-year-old has scored three centuries, two of which came in his side’s recent series defeat at the hands of Pakistan. He also notched an unbeaten hundred against India, attaining his highest score of 137 against a quality attack at Kingston.

Whether he will be able to translate his form to English conditions is another matter. If he has weaknesses in his technique, James Anderson and Stuart Broad will have no problem exposing them, although he does bat in the middle order. That could protect him from the new ball, but given the fragility of the West Indies’ batting line-up that may not be a saving grace.

Chase has good odds of +500   with Bet365 to top score for the tourists and Edgbaston. Considering the start to his Test career it’s well worth a punt.

England’s Top Bowler

Anderson will be aiming to fire again

Anderson will be relishing the chance to bowl at an inexperienced batting line-up with a ball that should move yards early in the innings. The 35-year-old was at his imperious best against South Africa, taking 20 wickets over the course of the series at an average of 14.10.

More importantly for Root and England, they were able to limit his overs ahead of a busy schedule over the winter. Should Anderson get off to a strong start against the West Indies in the opening two matches, the Three Lions could even rest him for the final contest to ensure he’s fit and ready for the Ashes.

As a result, the Lancastrian will be keen to maximise his bowling opportunities against the Windies. He is currently 13 wickets short of the 500-wicket mark and would become just the third seam bowler in the history of the game to reach the milestone – behind Glenn McGrath and Courtney Walsh.

He took seven at Old Trafford last time out and a fine outing could see him reach the mark at Edgbaston at odds of +333   with Betfair to lead the wicket column.

Winner

England are entering new ground with the conditions and the pink ball, but that should not affect matters a great deal. They’ve got an impressive record at Edgbaston with an unbeaten record stretching back to 2008 and six matches.

Holder’s men are inexperienced in English conditions and Test level, and will face a massive challenge just to compete with the Three Lions. Therefore backing Root and his team to emerge victorious at -400   with SportingBet is the option to take.

Tips Summary

England To Beat The West Indies
Thursday August 17th – Monday August 21st 2017 14:00 BST
Odds: -400

Alastair Cook To Be England’s Top Batsman
Thursday August 17th – Monday August 21st 2017 14:00 BST
Odds: +350

Roston Chase To Be West Indies’ Top Batsman
Thursday August 17th – Monday August 21st 2017 14:00 BST
Odds: +500

James Anderson To Be England’s Top Bowler
Thursday August 17th – Monday August 21st 2017 14:00 BST
Odds: +333