England v Pakistan, 3rd Test – Edgbaston from 11:00 live on Sky Sports 2
In the blink of an eye, we are into the sixth Test of the summer and the third between England and Pakistan. With the series levelled by the hosts at Old Trafford courtesy of a Joe Root/Alastair Cook batting master-class, Edgbaston is poised and ready to stage the penultimate match of this compelling Test series. Pakistan won’t have fond memories of this ground having being bowled out inside 40 overs for just 72 back in 2010, but fortunately only two of the starting XI in that match are in this summers touring party. England have lost just one of their last eleven Tests at Edgbaston in what Stuart Broad has described this week as their version of Australia’s “Gabba” – fighting talk.
Edgbaston has suffered with some shocking wet weather in recent years – no more so than the 2012 Test versus the West Indies – where just 187 overs could be bowled. No such misfortune this year, as we are set for a dry five days with temperatures in the low twenty degrees celsius.
Here’s a list of sides 1st innings scores at Edgbaston in the last five Tests along with the winner/result of each Test in bold text –
2015 – 1st inns – 136 (AUS), 2nd inns – 281 (ENG) – ENG
2012 – 1st inns – 426 (WI), 2nd inns – 221/5 – Rain* (ENG) – DRAW
2011 – 1st inns – 224 (IND), 2nd inns – 710/7d (ENG) – ENG
2010 – 1st inns – 72 (PAK), 2nd inns – 251 (ENG) – ENG
2009– 1st inns – 263 (AUS), 2nd inns – 376 (WI) – DRAW
Batting in the 1st innings of the match in this period – Average 224
Batting in the 2nd innings of the match in this period – Average 368*
*Average would be even higher if rain didn’t wash out majority of 2012 WI Test match
NOTE – (we’ve ignored 3rd and 4th match innings for the purposes of this column which has been written for each sides 1st innings of the Test)
Form Guide & First Inns Runs
Here are England‘s last ten 1st innings scores in Tests, plus result in brackets –
589/8d (W) 272 (L) 416 (D) 498/9d (W) 298 (W) 342 (L) 323 (W) 629/6d (D) 303 (W) 306 (L) – Average 384
Here are Pakistan‘s last ten 1st innings scores in Tests, plus result in brackets –
198 (L) 339 (W) 234 (W) 378 (W) 523/8d (D) 215 (W) 138 (L) 417 (W) 557/8d (W) 332 (D) – Average 333
Alastair Cook will lead an England side that once again will have to manage without its star all-rounder Ben Stokes. The Durham talisman has recovered from a knee issue only to pick up a hamstring issue that is in danger of ruling him out for even more of the summer. His replacement will be one of Adil Rashid, Steve Finn or Jake Ball – Finn went wicketless at Lord’s and debutant Ball took just one victim. Cook and Joe Root both starred during the Old Trafford second Test win and both top the series run scoring charts with 270 and 382 runs respectively. Questions still need to be answered by three of England’s batsman, Alex Hales, James Vince and Gary Ballance. Hales looks the safest of the three having made contributions against Sri Lanka but Vince looks on borrowed time having scrambled just 130 runs in 7 Test innings this summer. Woakes (below) Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson make up a formidable trio of quicks with all three having series economy rates of sub 2.85.
Pakistan skipper Misbah-Ul-Haq is doing all he can, leading his sides series run grabbers with 201. He’s been ably supported by Shafiq (below) and at times Mohammad Hafeez, Sarfrez Ahmed and Younis Khan. Younis, however, looks jumpy at the crease and although it would be a brave man to write off someone with 9,203 Test runs at an average of over 52, the 38 year-old could do with a proper score to appease any doubters. More concerning is the form of Azhar Ali who has scraped a paltry 39 runs at an average of 9.75 in the opening two Tests, although 81 in the Tour match last week at Worcester suggests better returns are round the corner. Yasir Shah’s leg spin went from the sublime to the ridiculous, following up his MOM 10/141 at Lord’s with 1/266 at Old Trafford! Left-arm quicks Mohammad Amir, Wahab Riaz and Rahat Ali have all bowled good spells in the series, but all average over 39 per wicket.
Ones To Watch
Chris Woakes is having a terrific summer as he cements his place in England‘s side in the longest format. 18 wickets in the first two Pakistan Tests at an average of 11.6 apiece is magnificent and confidence should be sky-high as the Birmingham Botham lines up up to play his first Test on his home ground. Earlier this year he took career best figures of 9-36 here in a county championship match against Durham.
Asad Shafiq has shown decent consistency in the series to date with scores of 73, 49, 4, 39. With 112 of his 165 series runs coming in boundaries, any time spent at the crease will see the talented Pakistani middle-order bat quickly increase his sides scoring rate.
If England bat first, I recommend backing any OVER RUNS around the 315-318 mark.
If Pakistan bat first, I recommend backing any UNDER RUNS around the 265-268 mark.
Top First Innings Batsman Market
Alastair Cook has a Test average of 50 at Edgbaston, mainly thanks to his 294 made against India in 2011. He’s worth at poke at 4.0 to top score here and follow up his Old Trafford hundred with something similar here for his England side.
Things are likely to be tough for the Pakistan top order, so let us back Sarfraz Ahmed at 11.0 to top score from down the order for the tourists.
Prices correct at time of writing.
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