Some you lose.
As you’ll know from my series preview, I certainly didn’t have England pegged for being 2-0 up and already series winners coming into this third and final Test at Headingley but hats off the new coach Brendon ‘Baz’ McCullum and skipper Ben Stokes, who have given the game in this country a much-needed lift in this format.
New Zealand, world Test champions as they are, will stick in there and will certainly not want to be whitewashed in Yorkshire.
However, they’re coming up against two Yorkies on their own patch in Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow and neither could be in better form. Bairstow’s powerhouse display in the Second Test had to be seen to be believed and, apart from being the catalyst for a memorable England success, it reminded us just how entertaining Test cricket can be and why it is still the best format of the lot.
The hosts go into the match as 11/10 favourites with most firms and that now looks value, with their opponents at a low ebb.
The forecast for the next week looks a bit unsettled, so that may bring the draw into play, for which Matchbook’s 2/1 looks tempting, particularly as these days the Headingley pitches are very good, so a short game does not look likely to be on the cards. Any interruptions for the weather will bring that draw more closely into focus.
Joe Root is in truly magnificent form again with the bat and he knows better than anyone how to play on this pitch. If you can get the 8/1 available about him being the Player of the Match, then that looks a value proposition, especially when you consider that several firms are taking no chances and pricing him up at 5/1.
Jimmy Anderson has taken 43 wickets in 11 previous Tests at this venue, a fabulous record for one of the great bowlers. There is talk of him sitting out this match to rest up for the forthcoming South Africa series. You can still back him at 9/1 to be Player of the Match for England here but shop around and ensure you will receive a refund if he doesn’t make the starting XI.
Whether they win the toss or not, I’m taking a rampant England to rack up a first innings lead at 8/11, with Joe Root at 15/8 to top score with bet365, which also looks worth a play.
I also like bet365’s 4/5 about a hundred being scored in the first innings. Realistically, we have about a dozen players playing for us across both sides to be able to tick that box and, as I said earlier, the Headingley pitch plays so well these days that once someone gets ‘in’ they are hard to get out.
So it’s England to make it a series whitewash for me and I’m sure we can share their feel good factor with some profits from these wagers.