Ed Hawkins crunches the numbers for Saturday's day-night Test and the final ODI from Old Trafford on Sunday...
"This ground form is key. Batting is such mental hardship that any edge a batsman can cling to in his favour is important"
Finch a fair wager
We have had our fingers singed by Aaron Finch a few times in this series. We backed him for top Australia runs at The Oval. Then we switched to an overs bet. Losers.
Of course, we should have kept the faith in the big man. There's a lesson in there somewhere. His record against England over the years has been exceedingly good and he once again proved his liking for their style by hitting a century at Chester-le-Street.
It wasn't enough to make Australia competitive but punters have long lost trust that these two outfits are going to produce a contest which is anything but one-sided.
It might be foolish - or knee-jerk - to consider getting with Finch again at Old Trafford for game five on Sunday having lost points previously. But it is difficult not to considering the weight of evidence in favour of a wager on him.
What this column tries to do is uncover genuine mathematical value. And, in an ideal world, align that with something we know to be true. Like recent form or ground form, the staples for the Average Joe punter if you will.
Finch is 10/3 for top runscorer honours. Shaun Marsh is next best at 7/2. Marsh would seem to be his biggest rival in this market cosnidering his form has been superior.
Finch, then, must be worth backing for a fifty at Old Trafford. Betfair Sportsbook go 7/4 that he half-salutes. On career form, Finch should be a little bigger. We make it from that lengthy study he has a 33 per cent chance of a fifty. Sportsbook are rating him at 36 per cent.
But against England, Finch rates a 43 per cent chance. And this year he has four half-centuries in seven. The previous year he had four in eight. Overall in the last three years he has cracked 16 half-centuries in 41 innings.
On those numbers he should be chalked up at around 8/5. The portents are good. Especially so when you look at his record at Old Trafford. His three innings there have produced scores of 45-53-70. He also has 121 runs in two innings in T20.
This ground form is key. Batting is such mental hardship that any edge a batsman can cling to in his favour is important. Finch, not short on confidence admittedly, should feel right at home in the dressing rooms, on the walk down to the pitch and in the middle. He has been there, done it and bought the t-shirt.
Mendis and De Silva ones to watch
Sri Lanka have been ravaged by injury ahead of their final Test against West Indies, which starts at the Kensington Oval, Bridgetown on Saturday.
It's not a tricky match result for us to call because without Dinesh Chandimal, Rangana Herath and Angelo Mathews the tourists are severely weakened. Without Chandimal - who has been banned for ball-tampering - in St Lucia they would have almost certainly lost. His first-dig ton rescued them.
In his absence - and Mathews' - there is a huge hole to fill for runs. Kusal Mendis and Dhananjaya De Silva are last men standing.
We expect one of them, at least, to come good. Mendis is 5/6 over/under 28.5 first-innings runs and De Silva the same odds for over/under 25.5. Mendis has a hit rate of 35 per cent at that runs quote and De Silva 43. Their pure averages tell a different story, however.
Mendis has a mark of 38 (not including not outs) and De Silva has an average of 40. Both filters include all innings.
2018 - points p-l: -8.01 (40 points staked)
2017 - points p-l: +5.29 (26 points staked)