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England vs West Indies: First Test Preview

Batsman Faces Bowler

Can the West Indies upset England when the sides meet in the first Test at Edgbaston from 17 – 21 August?

The first Test between England and the West Indies will be a landmark occasion as the sides prepare to use the pink Duke for the first time in the Test arena.

The West Indians will be hoping that the alien playing conditions and the slow-wearing pink ball will prove to be the great leveler in a match that could potentially go the way of the three Tests between Sri Lanka and India.

England vs West Indies | 17 August – 21 August | Edgbaston, Birmingham | England

To Win Match
England 1/4 | Draw 4/1 | West Indies 12/1

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England 
The English will ride a wave of confidence into this Test off the back of their 3-1 series win over South Africa. The significantly weaker opposition would have allowed Trevor Bayliss to tinker with certain combinations had he and his brains trust made a few braver decisions in selection.

The one change that was made saw Mark Stoneman called up to the squad in place of Keaton Jennings. Stoneman has been superb for Surrey and indeed for the England Lions over the last year or so. It would have been nice to see the Great Wall of Bolton, Haseeb Hameed included in the squad, too.

While I don’t see Hameed playing in the same side as Alistair Cook – both simply score too slowly – he is definitely the long-term replacement for the former English skipper who’s currently enjoying the twilight years of his career. He’d have benefitted greatly from being in and around the squad for a series in which England are expected to dominate from start to finish.

Dawid Malan, Tom Westley and Toby Roland-Jones all keep their place in the side after varying degrees of success against South Africa. Mason Crane and Chris Woakes have also been included in the squad, and one suspects that Woakes will slot straight into the side at the expense of Malan or Westley.

Woakes is seen as one of the best all-rounders in the country, however, he is yet to nail down a permanent England place in any of the three formats. If his performances warrant, and if he can stay injury-free, the Warwickshire quick can make the number eight slot his own and form part of an all-rounder contingent that already boasts the likes of Stuart Broad, Moeen Ali and Ben Stokes.

West Indies
The Windies have enjoyed a fairly successful warm-up campaign with solid enough performances against Derbyshire and Essex. Their performance against Kent left a bit to be desired though as their batting was horribly exposed by the likes of Charlie Hartley and Adam Ball.

Still, there was enough to show that the Windies could, at the very least, be competitive against the English. The Hope brothers – Kyle and Shai – both grabbed centuries against Derbyshire while the latter also helped himself to a half-century against Kent after scoring 22 and 46 against Surrey.

There were also solid showings from Roston Chase (110* and 60* vs Derbyshire as well as 81 and 50* vs Essex), Kieran Powell (100* and 92 vs Derbyshire) and Jermaine Blackwood (59 vs Essex and 50 vs Kent).

Bowling wise, Kemar Roach made a sensational return to the Test setup after a lengthy stint on the peripheral of the squad due to injury as well as loss of form. He only played in two of the warm-up matches, taking seven wickets at an average of 10.57. He’ll need to recapture that sort of form if he’s to bowl the Windies to victory.

Verdict: England 1/4
England should prove far too strong for this West Indies side in a regulation Test. However, the fact that it’s being played under lights, with the pink ball could even things out a bit. All things considered, this West Indies outfit aren’t as bad a unit as their 12/1 price suggests, but England should win triumph.

Value Bet: Highest first innings opening partnership: England 11/20
Alistair Cook and Mark Stonewall are a far more solid opening partnership than Kraig Braithwaite and Kieran Powell. Also, we need to take into consideration that England’s new ball bowling duo are differnet class. Looks to be good value here at 11/20.

Written by Jason Dewey for Hollywoodbets



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