West Indies v New Zealand
Wednesday 17 August, 11.00
TV: Live on Sky Sports
England retain faith
England have an injury concern over Craig Overton, who was impressive against South Africa in the Lions victory. It could be argued Overton balances the entire XI but England probably won't pick him anyway.
Instead they are expected to line up with James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Matt Potts and Jack Leach as their bowling attack with Ben Stokes another option. Ollie Robinson, fit again and back in the squad, may also miss out.
England's new-found aggressive approach has been built on backing their batters so despite dreadful returns Zak Crawley rides again. Alex Lees is probably just about in credit still. Can Jonny Bairstow rediscover the white-ball form that did for India and New Zealand in red-ball only to lose it when the real white-ball matches started. Keeping up yet?
Probable XI: Crawley, Lees, Pope, Root, Stokes, Bairstow, Foakes, Potts, Broad, Leach, Anderson
South Africa may need to spin it
South Africa have not made a great start to the red-ball segment of the tour. They lost Duanne Olivier to injury and then suffered a comprehensive defeat against the Lions as their bowlers were humiliated.
There are injury concerns about Kagiso Rabada and their attack leader must be fit if they are going to cause an upset here. If he teams up with Anrich Nortje and Lungi Ngidi they have an attack which, as skip Dean ELgar suggested, will test England's new tactics.
They're not quite at full-strength with the bat. Temba Bavuma is a loss. Aiden Markram will move to the middle order. There are doubts over Sarel Erwee and Rassie van der Dussen's techniques. Keegan Petersen is solid at No 3 though.
Where they have the edge is with spin. Keshav Maharaj and Simon Harmer trump England's options. If they find room for the latter it may be at the expense of Marco jansen.
Possible XI: Erwee, Elgar, Petersen, Markram, Van der Dussen, Verreyne, Jansen, Maharaj, Rabada, Nortje Ngidi
The Lord's surface looked very green indeed considering England is gripped by drought. That lends weight to a repeat of the two first digs we saw in June between England and New Zealand. They managed only 137 and 141 respectively.
The shrewd money may be shorting low numbers at low numbers. With both teams perhaps undercooked in terms of the format, the grassy nature of the wicket and some first-day moisture, laying 240 and 250 or more is low risk. Both these two have some shockers in their locker. The runs markets start here.
How to play
England are 1.9310/11, South Africa are 4.67/2 and the draw is 3.65. The latter price is of most interest. We're very keen to get a lay of the stalemate at some stage.
Neither team may be strong enough with the bat to make this last the full length. And England bat too quickly anyway in terms of run rate. With rain on day one forecast only, the draw could come in to 3.211/5. In-play we'd lay at anything under 3.02/1.
It's a watching brief for the hosts price. England have consistently traded at massive odds with Baz Ball so we'd wait for double. South Africa are a solid trade pre-toss perhaps. Bet the match odds here.
Joe Root and Dean Elgar have been boosted to 13/5 and 7/2 respectively to top bat for their teams in the first dig. If we're right that batters might need time to adjust, lower-order picks have more appeal. Ben Foakes at 16s for England? Maharaj, who is handy with the blade, at 33s?
With the ball, Rabada is 5/2 for most SA wickets in first-innings. James Anderson is the same price for England. The latter is 9/1 for man of the match. Bet the Sportsbook markets here. here.
England v SA series preview on Cricket...Only Bettor