Snap up outrageous draw odds while they last

Saeed AjmalThe draw is the value bet in the First Test between Pakistan and Sri Lanka at Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Stadium based on the recent head-to-head and venue records in Test matches.

Youwin is offering what one can only describe as outrageous odds of 4.30 that neither Pakistan nor Sri Lanka wins the First Test. Most bookmakers have chalked up the draw as the favourite and that is a position that a wealth of statistics supports. The draw deserves to be trading at odds of around 2.25. Youwin’s compilers have had too much Christmas rum.

Pakistan and Sri Lanka are regular combatants in the Test arena, with the Pakistanis holding the edge with 16 wins to the 10 wins of the Sri Lankans. However, the head-to-head leader is the draw on 17 and there have been a large number of stalemates between the Asian rivals in recent times.

Sri Lanka hosted Pakistan for a three-game Test series in 2012 and two of those matches did not produce a winner. It was the same story when the two teams clashed in the United Arab Emirates in 2011, although this time Pakistan won 1-0 instead of Sri Lanka. In summary, over the last 10 years Pakistan and Sri Lanka have played 15 Test games against each other and eight of them have ended in a draw, including two of the last three, four of the last six and seven of the last 11. Surely Youwin’s compilers know about these numbers.

Then there is Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Stadium and the four Test matches at the ground. Two of them have finished as a draw, including Sri Lanka’s only game at the facility. Sri Lanka bounced back from scoring only 197 runs in its first innings to almost match Pakistan’s mammoth first innings total of 511 runs for six wickets declared in its second knock and the Pakistanis did not have anywhere near the time required to chase its target of 170 runs for victory.

Pakistan beat England by 72 runs at Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Stadium in 2012 because the English could not handle the de facto home side’s spinners late in the match. The pitch was a huge turner – for example, Monty Panesar took six wickets for 62 runs when the Pakistanis had their second crack at batting – and the away team collapsed to 72 runs all out when it needed only 145 runs to secure a road success.

One could fancy Pakistan to beat most Test sides in the United Arab Emirates because the majority of them are not very good against top-class spinners. However, Sri Lanka’s batsmen are accomplished players of slow bowling and that goes a long way to explaining the head-to-head statistics.

The First Test bowler markets are the most appealing of the exotics. Saeed Ajmal is the top Pakistan bowler favourite at odds of 3.50 with Winner and Rangana Herath is the top Sri Lanka bowler favourite at odds of 3.50 with Paddy Power and Winner. Ajmal took a total of six wickets in the two recent One Day International games at Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Stadium and he is a very sound top Pakistan bowler market leader. Herath may not be the next Muttiah Muralitharan but he is the best Sri Lanka spinner in the Test format.

Back Pakistan and Sri Lanka to draw the First Test at any odds above 2.50. It is inconceivable to think that Youwin’s offer of 4.30 will last until the Pakistan and Sri Lanka skippers walk out to toss the coin because the draw really ought to be the favourite with every single bookmaker.

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