England v New Zealand Second Test Betting: Tourists worth a trade if they bowl first

Matt Prior averages 52 at Headlingley in Tests

Ed Hawkins previews the final Test at Headingley, which starts on Friday, as Alastair Cook's men look to secure the series. He feels New Zealand may be worth trading at a big price...

"The last thing we need is to get on the visitors at 11.5021/2 with the desire to lay off only for them to be exposed to Broad and James Anderson under heavy skies"

Recommended bet
Back-to-lay New Zealand at 11.5021/2 if they bowl first

England v New Zealand
Start time: 11.00BST
TV: live on Sky Sports 1

The home side have a spring in their step following a 170-run win at Headquarters. It is a margin of victory which suggests dominance but it was far from cosy. This England team have a habit of getting ahead of themselves and they would be wise to take a long, hard look at their faults. Chiefly, they cannot play the moving ball. The Kiwis exposed them in their home series and they did it again at Lord's. The Australians will reckon they have spotted more than a chink in the armour. Granted, England can make it hoop better than anyone and they are grateful for that face-saver. Stuart Broad claimed seven wickets as New Zealand were toppled for 68 in the second innings.

New Zealand
For the first half of Test matches New Zealand are a good side. But then they are utterly hopeless for the second half. New Zealand are as brittle as a Digestive in tea when the heat is on. The Kiwis go into Tests with an admirable underdog attitude. 'We've got nothing to lose'. But when such gusto gets them into a winning position they panic. At Dunedin, Auckland and Lord's they have been in the driving seat only to fritter it away. They might be more solid in Yorkshire. Brendon McCullum will add strength by keeping wicket after BJ Watling was ruled out. Martin Guptill, as a result, slots in at No 6 to bolster batting depth. Daniel Vettori was hoping to return, but couldn't prove his fitness in time. The Kiwis will field a four-man fast-bowling attack of Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Neil Wagner and Doug Bracewell, with Kane Williamson bowling offspin.

First-innings runs
The weather forecast is not too bad for a county which lost more hours of play to rain than any other in last season's County Championship. But there is cloud, which is key. Headingley assists the bowlers if the sun is not out. If it is, the conditions are great for batsmen. In that regard the first-innings average can be a little misleading as those totals would have been dictated by the weather. Over the last five Tests it stands at 276. As proof of the unpredictable skies the totals read: 419-88-102-203-570. Look up, not down.

Match odds
The only folk who should be annoyed with New Zealand's nearly men are Kiwis themselves. For punters they are a terrific bunch. From big prices against England, they have consistently traded at skinny odds. We hope they do it again. Alas we need the toss to go their way. The last thing we need is to get on the visitors at 11.5021/2 with the desire to lay off at something much, much shorter only for them to be exposed to Broad and James Anderson under heavy skies. So the advice is to wait until the toss and then go for a back-to-lay if they bowl first. England are 1.664/6 and we don't get involved at such odds. Again, we hope for New Zealand pressure for a spell - most probably from tyros Boult and Wagner - and if the hosts drift to anywhere around 1.804/5 they are worth following. The draw is 3.1511/5.

Top England runscorer
Nick Compton, who is averaging 36 in eight Tests, needs a score as pressure builds. Alas he has a poor record in county cricket at Headingley, averaging just 15. He is 6.4011/2 here. Joe Root, considered the new star but also averaging only 35, is 6.806/1. And he averages only 35 at Headingley, too. Alastair Cook averages 36 in Tests there, Ian Bell 23, Jonathan Trott 65 (but in only one match) and Matt Prior 52. The latter might be the pick at 10.009/1.

Top New Zealand runscorer
McCullum hit a half-century on his only Test appearance at the ground. Guptill, who has good experience of English conditions with Derbyshire is 7.206/1. Although to be frank, New Zealand and English conditions don't differ a huge amount. Ross Taylor is 4.607/2 favourite following form at HQ while Vettori, always worth a nibble, is 13.50.

Recommended bet
Back-to-lay New Zealand at 11.5021/2 if they bowl first

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