When South Africa came over at the start of the summer, they were number one in the world, so what could have been a tricky Test series for Joe Root on his first outing as Captain turned out to be a success.
Even though there were some tricky periods throughout the series, they’ve come out on top and will be delighted with the 3-1 win.
As a Captain, it’s always a relief to get your first series under your belt, which Root’s done. As a team, England showed some fragility in the batting line up, which I think has been addressed, with Stoneman and Woakes coming into the side. Although he may not actually play, it’s also good to see Mason Crane, who’s a very good leg spinner, feature in the set up to face West Indies.
Let’s look ahead to England’s Test Series then against a very young, inexperienced, West Indies side, where the ball will probably be nipping and seaming about quite a bit.
England are heavy favourites (2/11) for the first test, and rightly so, especially against a West Indies side who will be missing their star players like Dwayne Bravo and Chris Gayle, so with the introduction of day-night and the pink ball, as well as a very inexperienced batting line up, I just think it’s all a bit new for the visitors and at 12/1, they’ve got it all to do.
Don’t get me wrong, the day-night set up and the pink ball will be new for England too, but with their experience and playing in their own conditions under the lights, I wouldn’t buy a ticket for day 4 or 5 – it could be over pretty sharpish!!
Stick your money on one of the seamers to be top wicket taker here – I imagine this is going to be a very low scoring game. We don’t know how the pink ball’s going to react, but they have tested it out a bit, so hopefully it doesn’t cause too many problems.
At night time, there’ll be a bit of dew about, it’ll be a bit cold and damp too, so you’d have thought the likes of the English seam bowlers would be licking their lips at the prospect of the first test match, bowling against a side not particularly used to the conditions.
In terms of picking a top wicket taker, you could really pick any of the England boys, but I can’t see past the two big guns up front, Anderson (11/4) and Broad (3/1), who have all the experience in the world and are great operators on any pitch.
I’d be interested to watch Mark Stoneman, who will be yet another partner for Alastair Cook and it might be worth sticking a few quid on him at 5/1 – you never know, he might go out there and rattle up a century!!
For me, West Indies will struggle and off the back of a successful Test Series against South Africa and the experience in our side, it’s going to be a very comfortable win for the England boys!
Odds are provided at time of writing, please check your betslip to confirm they have not changed before betting.