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Michael Vaughan: Backing England but trading the draw again

Brendon McCullum should enjoy the small boundaries in Auckland

"I can't ignore the back-to-lay on the draw again, with the stalemate bound to come in from its 3.412/5 price in-play."

It's a final Test decider in Auckland after two weather affected stalemates and Michael Vaughan believes the tourists are well placed to win the series. But trading the draw has been a profitable approach during the first two games and he is keen on it again. Betfair trader Paul Krishnamurty is looking towards the Test Match End market

The weather hit us again in Wellington, although England did put themselves in with a chance of winning a shortened game with a good performance in the first couple of days.

There was plenty to be encouraged about from an England point of view, with both Nick Compton and Jonathan Trott getting into three figures and Jimmy Anderson putting in a great shift, bowling into the wind while carrying a knock. 

But the most pleasing aspect for Andy Flower would have been the way Stuart Broad bowled, in taking a six-fer in that first innings.

He bowled with intensity and to a perfect length after addressing a technical fault he was suffering from in India, spotted while looking at DVDs of his performances put together by his sister Gemma, who is a video analyst for England. It goes to show how important the back room teams are in Test cricket these days.

Despite plenty of work for bowlers on both teams during the first two Tests, I don't envisage any team changes for Auckland, where we'll see a drop-in pitch used on what is also a rugby ground.

It used to be that drop-in pitches offered lots of assistance to the bowlers, but they have improved a lot. I expect more pace and bounce but it will be true, and with the small boundaries at Auckland the batsmen should still score plenty.

With this in mind - and the potential for some weather coming in depending on which forecast you believe - I can't ignore the back-to-lay on the draw again, with the stalemate bound to come in from its 3.412/5 price in-play.

But I do think England will have too much in the end, so the best approach would be to lock in a profit and then back the tourists when they hit around evens.

With the small boundaries at Auckland there should be some big scores, so the Top Batsman markets could be wide open. But Brendon McCullum will love it out there so he's my pick for the Kiwis. In the absence of Kevin Pietersen who was my original pick, I'll go for Mr Dependable, Jonathan Trott, for England. Look for around 4.57/2 on each.

The Betfair's Trader's View: Paul Krishnamurty

In both the T20s and ODI series, England needed to win the final match and delivered. With the caveat that weather forecasts have proved unreliable of late, I'm expecting an uninterrupted match will allow history to repeat itself.

At present the forecast is clear, which according to recent Auckland results, will ensure a result. The last six matches here all produced results, and the last couple finished with a day to spare, producing only one innings total above 300. Granted there hasn't been a test at Eden Park for seven years, but the early market points towards another lively pitch, with the draw a weak 3.4 chance.

Under the circumstances, it would be dangerous to make confident predictions about the first innings totals before seeing the pitch, or the match winner before the toss is made. If the early signs indeed suggest a result, I'll be prepared to back England at around 1.75. If and when New Zealand stay competitive, I might add a saver on them as the pre-match 7.6 would be a big price if we could be strongly confident of a result.

One pre-match bet that does take the eye involves the 'Test Match End' market. The combination of Day 4 Morning, Day 4 Afternoon and Day Evening currently pays around 2.9, which would represent good value on any result pitch.

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21 March 2013

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