England won the second test in Manchester to draw level 1-1 in the four test series with two to play. The two sides play the third Test at Edgbaston in Birmingham starting on Wednesday. England won.
<p>England won the second test in Manchester to draw level 1-1 in the four test series with two to play. The two sides play the third Test at Edgbaston in Birmingham starting on Wednesday.</p><p>England won an important toss in Manchester and thanks to their two best batsmen Cook and Root were able to compile a match winning score. Both of these sides are stronger in their bowling line ups than their batting depth and batting first on such a good surface is a huge advantage.</p><p>The same is likely to be the case at Edgbaston assuming decent summer weather. Edgbaston is typically a good batting surface that offers spin later in games. Obviously here writing a few days in advance of the match is tricky as winning the toss is so important.</p><p>England is forced to make at least one change with Ben Stokes again injured and likely to be replaced by one of Finn, Ball or a second spinner in Adil Rashid who was unfortunate to miss out in Manchester. England has some enviable strengths</p><p> </p><ul> <li>Cook and Root are world class test performers and have 270 and 382 runs in this series so far, with the next best performer 135. Both players represent a major difference in the quality of the two sides</li> <li>With a batting line up of Bairstow, Ali and Woakes they bat deep</li> <li>The fast bowling attack of Anderson, Broad and Woakes is amongst the best in Test cricket</li> </ul> However, the weaknesses are evident too<p></p><p> </p><ul> <li>Three of the likely top six in the batting are short of test runs. If Cook/Root fail batting collapses are always a possibility</li> <li>Moeen Ali is not yet transformed from a stock bowler to a front line match winning spinner</li> </ul> <p></p><p>For Pakistan the major concern is around the top three in the batting. Shan Masood is likely to be replaced and Azhar Ai is short of runs too. Younus isn’t looking too compfortable either and it could be that the impressive Asad Shafiq is pushed up the order.</p><p>In the two matches in the series so far, only one Pakistan batsman has over 200 runs and only two (Asad included) above 150. This just isn’t healthy enough to inspire confidence in big batting totals.</p><p>As it stands perhaps a major difference in the sides is that it is difficult to see Pakistan scoring 400+ consistently whereas the presence of Root and Cook makes that very possible for England. This difference alone probably justifies England being favourites before each match</p><p>Where Pakistan are strong is in their bowling line up with the left arm fast triumvirate of Ali, Riaz and Amir all threatening and Yasir Shah an effective leg spinner. This should mean they remain competitive in the series.</p><p>For the third test England are odds-on again, this time <a href="http://www.sportsbookreview.com/Sportsbook/?v=4810&book=Bet365">4/6 with Bet365</a> best with the Draw at 100/30 and Pakistan 7/2+. The draw is unlikely given the batting of these two sides. I would back Pakistan if I were quick and could get 7/2 if they won the toss on Wednesday morning.</p><p> </p><p><strong>In sub markets</strong></p><p><strong>Top England batsman</strong>: Root and Cook 5/2 joint favourites 5/1 bar. <strong>Top England bowler</strong>: Anderson 5/2 Woakes 3/1 Broad 3/1. Woakes with 18 wickets in the series looks the best of these three for value <strong>Top Pakistan Batsman</strong>: 4/1 the field, with Asad Shafiq an interest play at 6/1 given the frailities of the order above him <strong>Top Pakistan bowler: </strong>Yasir and Amir lead the way at 2/1 and 5/2 respectively, 7/2 bar.</p><p> </p><p><strong>Recommendations </strong></p><p>Pakistan to win at 18/5 BetVictor (only if they win the toss) Chris Woakes top England bowler 3/1 generally <a href="http://www.sportsbookreview.com/Sportsbook/?v=4834&book=Paddypower">Asad Shafiz Top Pakistan batsman 6/1 PaddyPower</a></p>