England v West Indies 1st Test latest odds, news and free bets

A summer of Test Match cricket begins on Thursday 17 May when Andrew Strauss leads out his team to face the West Indies, hoping the weather doesn’t get in the way of the game at Lord’s where England have a pretty solid record in recent years

We should probably expect a few showery spells in north London, although it won’t stop punters piling into the 1/2 (Stan James free bets) about an English win against a touring team that look underprepared when it comes to facing the number one Test nation in the world.

England didn’t exactly cover themselves in glory during the first few months of 2012, where they were humiliated 3-0 by Pakistan on neutral ground, although some pride was restored with a 1-1 draw in Sri Lanka which saw several batsmen rediscover their scoring touch.

The player to watch out for is Johny Bairstow who is set to make his debut at number six and he can be backed at 10/1 (Ladbrokes bookmaker) to score the most 1st innings runs.

Perhaps he might not get a chance to bat much if the players above him in the pecking order are putting together sizeable knocks, especially if the West Indies struggle to accumulate runs.

Kevin Pietersen is greatly looking forward to the Tests against South Africa later this summer and he is on offer at 4/1 (Stan James) to score the most runs, while captain Strauss is a 9/2 poke and won’t get a better chance to boost his averages.

As for the Windies, can we expect them to compete over the five days play? The answer is probably not and that is reflected in the odds of 10/1 (Bet365 £200 free bets) about a team that have been in the cricketing doldrums for far too long.

The tourists lost to the England Lions and are missing key players such as Chris Gayle and Dwayne Bravo. The West Indies have only won one of their previous ten series and that was against Bangladesh. In short, they look ripe for the taking.

Therefore, perhaps we should expect Jimmy Anderson and Co to have a field day, especially with all the moisture in the air making swing a real possibility. Paddy Power go 9/4 about Anderson, while Stuart Broad will also be confident of taking wickets.

Stan James offer 4/11 about there being a century in the match and there could be England players queuing up for that honour. Shivnarine Chanderpaul is expected to fly the flag for the Windies and 3/1 with Sky Bet looks a reasonable shout that he’s the team’s top batsman.

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