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England v West Indies first Test latest odds and advice



England v West Indies first Test latest odds and advice

Richard Mann is backing England to turn the screw on day two of the first Test with West Indies at Lord’s.

The pitch at Lord’s has been a surface that has generally held together well in recent years, often getting better for batting and allowing some big scores in the third and fourth innings.

The surface we saw on day one of England’s first Test with West Indies actually sported less live grass than we have become accustomed to, and that the tourists only managed 121 batting first had more to do with their own deficiencies, a brilliant debut from Gus Atkinson, and plenty of cloud cover.

England didn’t find conditions anywhere near as challenging when it was their turn to bat, cruising along at 4.72 runs per over as they finished the day on 189-3 thanks to fifties from Zak Crawley and Ollie Pope.

That’s not to say West Indies’ excellent pace attack didn’t pose England problems. They patently did, but the ball is now 40 overs old and if recent history is anything to go by, a surface that appeared pretty docile on Wednesday should be even better to bat on come Thursday.

A decent weather forecast, sunshine and some clouds, suggests conditions in that respect might also be better for batting than on Wednesday, and England really ought to turn the screw with plenty of ammunition to come.

It could prove to be the perfect scenario for newcomer Jamie Smith to showcase his talents with the bat, though more immediately I’m expecting big runs for Yorkshire pair HARRY BROOK and JOE ROOT.

Brook, back in the team having missed the winter tour of India due to personal reasons, was right back at it as he raced to 25 not out from 29 balls, and the way this huge talent finished the recent T20 World Cup suggests he is ready to explode.

Four hundreds and seven half-centuries from only 12 Tests tells you we are dealing with a serious operator in Brook, and up against an attack that could tire quickly as that ball gets soft, he’s fancied to make hay.

I like the look of BROOK TO MAKE A CENTURY from here, and the 11/4 with Star Sports appeals.

It’s 5/2 that Root also converts to three figures, resuming on 15 not out, and I’ll take the 5/2 about the former captain.

Root has copped a lot of criticism for apparently not always finding the right rhythm to his batting under the current management, but he still boasts an outstanding record that features 31 Test hundreds.

He was more measured and controlled on day one, appearing at pains to get himself set as he bedded in for close to 15 overs.

That should stand him in good stead on Thursday, and a ROOT CENTURY is well worth betting.

Posted at 2200 BST on 10/07/24

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