England vs West Indies Prediction: Poor forecast brings the 7/1 draw into play

 | Monday 8th July 2024, 14:03pm

Monday 8th July 2024, 14:03pm

james anderson

With the T20 World Cup over, we’re back to the business of Test match cricket in what will be James Anderson’s final appearance in international cricket at Lord’s on Wednesday, July 10 with an 11:00 start (live on Sky Sports Cricket).

James Pacheco is looking up at the skies and down to recent results to identify the draw at 7/1 as the pick on the match winner market, while Ollie Pope at 5/1 and Shoaib Bashir at 6/1 look overpriced to shine with bat and ball as we go through our England vs West Indies Predictions for the First Test...

England vs West Indies First Test Betting Tips

  • Back the Draw @ 7/1
  • Back Ollie Pope to be England Top Batsman @ 5/1
  • Back Shoaib Bashir to be England Top Bowler @ 6/1

England

There’s only one place to start here. James Anderson will have one last chance to add to his tally of 700 Test wickets before he disappears into the sunset, then…either taking up some sort of mentor/coach role or joining his old mate Stuart Broad in a cushty commentary box. This probably isn’t the time or place to reminisce too much about the great man other than to say we’re very unlikely to see another one like him.

But in the middle of the Anderson swansong, there’s a Test match to be won here at Lord’s and a three-match Series in terms of the bigger picture.

It’s not just Anderson the selectors have moved on from. There’s no place for either Ben Foakes as a keeper or Jonny Bairstow as either keeper or batsman with 23-year-old Jamie Smith of Surrey taking the gloves and presumably batting at seven. He’s got a decent record with the bat and has already played 58 First Class matches, so should be ready for the challenge.

In another move towards the future, Shoaib Bashir is in for the reliable but somewhat one-dimensional Jack Leach. Ben Stokes is back to lead; let’s see how much he bowls.

Possible XI: Crawley, Duckett, Pope, Root, Brook, Stokes, Smith, Woakes/Potts, Atkinson, Bashir, Anderson.

West Indies

Like with England, this is practically an unrecognisable side from that we see in action at the recent T20I World Cup.

Only Alzarri Joseph makes the transition from the shortest format to the longest and as vice-captain and their star bowler, should have plenty of work on his hands.

The squad also contains the highly experienced former skipper Jason Holder, paceman Kemar Roach and Alick Athanaze, who has shown potential in all formats but could really do with a strong series here to cement his place in the Test side for the foreseeable future.

Given they only played one warm-up match against a County Select XI, it’s a bit hard to know who they may pick but it looks like it will be a decent side with some genuinely quick bowlers on show.

Possible XI: Brathwaite, McCaskie, Louis, McKenzie, Athanaze, Holder, da Silva, Joseph, Seales, Roach, Motie.

Pitch and conditions

Right, the weather.

There’s about a 20% chance of rain on Wednesday afternoon, the same chance for Thursday, even though there may also be some showers in the morning. It gets worse on Friday, with that figure shooting up to 70% for most of the day, with more rain expected for much of Saturday. Sunday should be much better with the smart money on this being the only day we have without any interruptions in play. Let’s see.

In the last five years, there have been seven Tests played here. There were draws against Australia (2019) and New Zealand (2021), defeats to India (2021), South Africa (2022) and Australia last year, where England failed to chase a stiff fourth-innings total. There were wins for England against New Zealand in 2022 and against Ireland in 2023 but all in all, theirs isn’t a great record here of late.

258, 378, 364, 132, 165, 172 and 461 were the first innings scores across those last seven, meaning it’s not so easy to predict what a par score is batting first. There’s no obvious decision to make for the skipper winning the toss, so it might be a ‘good one to lose’.

England vs West Indies First Test Odds

These two have played each other ten times in Tests since 2017, four in England six in the Windies.

Of those, England have won four, drawn three and lost three though we need to remember more of those matches were in the Caribbean. The last time they played was a Three-match series over there that the Windies won 1-0, so the Tourists have been pretty decent as perennial underdogs in the last few years.

I can’t have England at 2/13. Theirs is neither a particularly good record at Lord’s nor against this opposition, so that’s far too short a price. The Anderson thing could go one of two ways and there’s no guarantee it will all end with a hatful of wickets for the retiring man. If anything, though the batting looks quite settled, their bowling looks greener than the Windies’ where Holder, Roach and Joseph have played here plenty of times before.

West Indies admittedly haven’t had much by way of preparation as such, though it is true that players like Jason Holder have been playing County cricket over here for a few weeks now.

A gamble on the Windies isn’t out of the question at 10/1 but that forecast makes me prefer the draw at 7/1. We could lose plenty of overs to rain and England may not be in full Bazball mode just yet this summer, so the possibility of going out and scoring 350 in no time is somewhat unlikely. And the Windies can be dogged with the bat on their day, with players like Kraig Brathwaite and de Silva in no hurry to move the game on.

With two of the last seven at Lord’s draws and also four out of the last 10 between these two, it looks a good price given the likely rain.

England Top Batsman

If you want another reason to dodge that short price on England to win, have a look at the recent scores of their batsmen. Crawley, Pope, Stokes and even Root have been somewhat out of form in the County game while Duckett may have scored 218 against Warwickshire but that was a good two months ago and was his only score of note, anyway. Brook, the only man in the XI to have been at the T20 World Cup hasn’t been playing County cricket, as you would expect.

As ever, price is everything and Pope stands out at 5/1. As I said, he hasn’t been in form at all but with players as gifted as Pope, sometimes the slog of the County Championship doesn’t bring out the best in them and he may prefer the limelight provided by Test match cricket.

He scored 205 here at Lord’s against Ireland last year (Duckett did admittedly score 182 himself) so will have good memories of it and is just too big a price for a man of his ability and record.

England Top Bowler

This one requires a bit of a leap of faith, but this betting game is after all about risk and reward.

You probably won’t have got rich backing spinners to be top wicket-taker in the first innings at Lord’s over the years. But I can’t resist the 6/1 carrot dangled in front of me in the shape of Shoaib Bashir. He’s likely to play and the fact he was picked ahead of Leach suggests the powers-that-be have serious faith in him. Just three Tests have yielded 17 wickets for him and although they were in far more spin-friendly Indian conditions, it shows there’s something about him.

This may be a seam-friendly wicket where the likes of Anderson and Potts have their fun, but it might not, and it may be left to Bashir to get through plenty of overs if the situation dictates. The damp weather doesn’t necessarily help his cause but he’s capable of some good variations and is a proper wicket-taker, so I’ll take the gamble.

Anderson is 19/10, an understandably short price given the circumstances but not a good one based on how many times he wins.

*You can check out all the latest Cricket Odds from all the matches Betfred cover over on betfred.com

Jamie Pacheco predominantly covers Cricket for us at Betfred Insights. You can check out his Cricket Betting Tips, along with those from the rest of the team, at our Cricket hub page...

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