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Test Match Betting: Flat track, flat England bowling attack

England Cricket RSS / / 02 March 2009 /

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Frank Gregan is the first to admit there's nothing in the Barabados wicket but goes on to wonder how having posted 600 first innings runs, England find themselves in the position where they could still lose the Fourth Test.

It is fitting that the fourth test in Barbados started during the week of Shrove Tuesday and in honour of the great day which is right up there with Bonfire Night and Show and Tell Day on the sporting calendar - the Windies have produced a pitch that is flatter than a pancake put through a mangle!

The English bowlers stuck to their task with the enthusiasm of a claustrophobic lift attendant and the West Indian batsmen have been able to score more freely than Brad Pitt in the midst of a hen weekend in Benidorm! It has been carnage, who could have predicted that after scoring 600 in the first innings, England will have to occupy the crease on the final day to scrape a draw?

A look at the trading history in the match odds market suggests that this situation was not totally unexpected. There is such little confidence behind this England team that having made their 600 and having reduced the West Indians to 159-3 the shortest price they were traded at was [1.9]. One can only speculate as to what price the Australians or South Africans would have been traded at in a similar situation but the odds are it would have been considerably shorter.

The belief amongst the majority of Betfairians is that this current England side couldn't close the door, let alone a Test match. The flip side of the coin is that as soon as the nipples started to point in an upward direction there were layers out there happy to offer odds of [1000] on an English miracle. If you believe in fairies you could still probably get a match in the region of [780]. Should you elect to go down that route you will be proving the theory that there is one born every minute because England will not win this test match.

The West Indies however might win it, as unlikely as it seems going into the final day. After all, let us not forget the 51 all out in Jamaica just a few short weeks ago. Fidel Edwards will be steaming in during his opening salvo and there is the chance that Sulieman Benn might prove a handful if he can find some turn. The West Indian attack is not one to strike fear into the hearts of the world's best batsmen but with the exception of KP, the world's best batsmen will not be occupying the crease today unless Sarwan and Chanderpaul have to bat again.

This match has "draw" written all over it and the shrewd investors will back the draw at [1.09] and at the end of the day will have made a much nicer profit on their return than any high street bank might be prepared to offer. For the majority of us, that is too short a price and is a wager lacking in excitement and optimism. There is nothing as boring as screaming at the box "Come on ye draw!"

So England have no chance and the draw is too short. That means that there is only one option left. The West Indies at [12.0] is a fair price and if they knock two or three over before lunch there will be an opportunity to trade in play and turn the screen green. Let's hope that both the wicket and the market are not flat today.

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