Whilst I had expected England to win the first test at Headingley, I was surprised at how quickly they dealt with the Sri Lankan batting. Clearly the tourists are a much weaker side now that the likes of Jayawardene and Sangakkara have retired and unless someone comes through to take their place, the mid-term future is looking bleak.
Match Odds & Game Preview
No real surprises here and England are even shorter this time around at 1.29 with Bet365 for the win while Sri Lanka drift to 13.00 with Betfair. It might be worth keeping an eye on the draw which is listed at 5.00 with Bet365 as it’s not been the best start to a British Summer and the weather could intervene at some point.
However, England only needed three days to take victory in the first test and this is where they justify those win odds. Sri Lanka’s batters had no answer to the swing and seam of Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad and in similar conditions at Durham, it could be a similar story.
The positive for Sri Lanka came through their own seamers who had the home side in trouble at 83-5 before Jonny Bairstow and Alex Hales rescued the innings. If the tourists bowl first and go deeper into the English middle order, they retain hope of an upset but it seems unlikely.
Back England for the win if you like to take a modest profit.
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Top Batsmen Betting Picks
Bairstow looked a value tip for Headingley at around the 9.00 mark and he shortens now to 7.00 with Betfair. Joe Root remains favourite at 3.50 with Bet365 with Alastair Cook at 4.50 with Bet365 again.
I feel that the toss will be important as far as England’s market is concerned and if they bat second, I would be happy to invest in Cook. On Friday morning under grey Durham skies however, I would favour Root if the home side are asked to make first use of the surface.
As for Sri Lanka, Angelo Mathews seemed the best candidate at Headingley and he did deliver – albeit with a disappointing 34. He would have gone further had he decided to use the review system; that’s all in the past but based on that game I would back Mathews again at 4.00 with Bet365.
Kusal Mendis showed some resilience in the first game, making Sri Lanka’s only half century and the number three is listed for Durham at 6.00 with Betfair while Dinesh Chandimal briefly threatened a decent score but looks a little short here at 4.50 with Bet365.
I would keep faith with Mathews as he looks to be the most positive player with a decent technique in these conditions but the days when you could get him around 6.00 are long gone.
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Other Markets Betting Tips
Test cricket isn’t full of the interesting side bets such as those you’ll find in limited overs but there are some options for Friday’s test. In England’s top bowler market I went for Steven Finn last time out based on Jimmy Anderson’s poor returns at Headingley. I got that wrong and would probably switch to Anderson this time at 3.00 with Bet365. I would love to see Jake Ball given a go as Ben Stokes’ replacement and although Chris Woakes took a 9-for in the week, Ball will thrive in these conditions.
I will be amazed if it happens however so take Jimmy in this market once again.
Anderson and Broad are key to the game and if Sri Lanka are to get anything out of this, they have to deal with the swinging ball. If, as expected, the overhead conditions are almost identical to the ones found at Headingley then we should be destined for an identical result.