In-play angles after day one of West Indies v England

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Root solid

The draw in Test cricket is the bettor’s nemesis. Laying the stalemate religiously has proved profitable down the years but three in the last two weeks has made for a mean March.

A fourth looks likely to be odds-on rapidly on day two if the first day of action from Bridgetown, Barbados is anything to go by, following on from the stalemate in the first Test in Antigua. The double draw in the Pakistan-Australia series will mean many will be desperate for a result.

England closed on 244 for three following the ubiquitous Joe Root century and a fluent 91 from Dan Lawrence. They are favourites at 1.738/11 to take a 1-0 lead with one to play. The draw is 2.707/4. West Indies are 18.50. Bet the match odds here.

In normal circumstances, those odds would seem right. Over countless live blogs down the years we’ve decried prices the opposite way round. Or close to. It’s not unusual for the draw to be the favourite in this situation. And we’d cry ‘why?’ England are clearly in control and winning the Test.

But these are unusual circumstances insofar as the Kensington Oval pitch looks as a dead as Dodo. It is lifeless, one-paced and flat.

At first glance it looks as though it has something in it. There are rough patches to the side which might interest spinners. But wicket to wicket it is like glass. The ball doesn’t budge from the straight. It doesn’t carry to slip and barely to the wicketkeeper.

Brathwaite next

And as good as Root’s innings was – and likely may continue to be – the real clue to the nature of the surface was Lawrence’s innings. He unfurled his full repertoire of strokes almost immediately.

Lawrence’s 91 came off 150 balls and he was chasing down Root, giving those punters who backed the England captain cause for concern. Now that Lawrence played a shot too many, Root (119 not out) really should go on to cop at price-boosted 23/10.

We would expect the draw price to be significantly odds-on by the close of play on day two and continue to shorten into day three with West Indies likely to go well.

A solid strategy – if you missed our pre-game advice – remains a simple trade on the draw. Backing at the 2.707/4 should give you the option to lay back at around 1.608/13. By doubling stakes you are guaranteed a profit.

Sportsbookhave Root’s runs at 167.5 over or under at 10/11. There seems little to stop him batting for as long as he wishes, particularly as West Indies have given him lives.

When West Indies do get their turn, Kraigg Brathwaite, who scored a double in the first dig, gives you a 0.3% edge on win rate in the last three years at 11/4. It’s a hard sell because he was boosted to 10/3 before the off. But an easy one when you consider the wicket.

Top West Indies bat wins/matches last 3 years
Brathwaite 5/19
Campbell 2/13
Bonner 3/10 – 9/2
Mayers 1/10
Brooks 2/17
Blackwood 2/17
Holder 2/17