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West Indies v England Second Test Betting: Watch out England, here they come again

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Ed Hawkins says there's no reason to doubt that the hosts are not value to make it 2-0 in Antigua from Thursday...

"Before the first Test we said that West Indies were the value to win if they batted first because there was little evidence the English could hold firm on a wearing pitch. Nothing has changed"

West Indies v England
Thursday 1 February 14.00
TV: live on Sky Sports

Windies full of beans

West Indies's crushing victory in Barbados shouldn't have come as that big a surprise. Should it? The hosts had lost only once in 10 Tests against England at home, a sequence stretching back to 2004.

And now a wider audience has seen the talent they have at their disposal, it won't be a shock if they win game two, either.

Okay, so we're being a little facetious. No-one expected West Indies to dish out such a humiliation. The way Kemar Roach razed England for 77 in the first dig was a sensation. Forewarned is forearmed, however, and Windies will now have to work double hard no doubt.

Still, they will not be short of grit. Their pace attack is superb with Roach, Shannon Gabriel and Jason Holder tearing in. They probably have the edge on England there. Holder, after his double ton, has rightly been called the best all-rounder in the world.

They are wobbly at the top of their batting order but with Shimron Hetmyer and Shane Dowrich capable of counter-attacking, it's not a major worry for big outsiders.

England exposed

Depending on who you believe, England lost by a massive 381 runs because they hadn't prepared properly, they showed a lack of respect, they didn't pick Stuart Broad and their batsmen lacked mental fortitude.

There is probably a bit of truth in all of those, apart from Broad's selection. We don't see what difference he would have made in their first-innings collapse.

The most significant factor, however, is that they lost the toss and batted when the pitch was at its absolute worse. Players with wooly techniques - and they are far from alone in the world game in this regard - were exposed by good bowling on a helpful surface.

It will happen again at some stage but wholesale changes won't help now. Broad will play, probably for Ben Foakes with Jonny Bairstow keeping, because its trial by media.

Bad memories for tourists

Not including the aborted West Indies-England game in 2009, there have been five Tests played at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium. Two have ended in draws. The first-innings scores (most recent first) read: 43-566-399-351-479.

That 43 was by Bangladesh last year with Roach picking up a five-wicket haul. England snatched a stalemate from the jaws of victory in 2015 when they batted on way too long in the third innings to cost themselves overs.

No reason to ditch hosts

Before the first Test we said that West Indies were the value to win if they batted first because there was little evidence the English could hold firm on a wearing pitch. Nothing has changed.

Well, apart from the odds. The Windies are into [3.5] with England [1.66]. The draw is [8.4].

Given the size of West Indies' win, momentum and England's significant foibles it is hard to disagree that the hosts retain value. Sure as hell England are not it. That's a terrible pre-toss price even if a significant improvement is inevitable.

We're happy to get with West Indies batting first again as it will pile the pressure on England.

Holder has ground form

Kraigg Brathwaite hit a ton against Bangladesh in the last Test at this ground. He managed a 74 (against India) to top in the Test before that. He gets a 7/2 quote (Betfair Sportsbook) about top scoring for the Windies in the first-innings. Holder, by the way, won the man of the match in that 2015 Test against England after he made a fourth-innings 103. He is 15/2 for top bat and 12s for another match gong. Shai Hope is a fair 5/2 favourite on the runs market bur Hetmyer at 5s will see business.

Root has to step up

Apart from himself, Joe Root doesn't have much to beat, surely, to land top England runscorer in the first-innings. Keaton Jennings's technical failings, unsurprisingly, remain while Bairstow, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and Moeen Ali are the ones accused of a lack of mental toughness. Root is 3/1 (Betfair Sportsbook). Rory Burns might be the best other option at 7/2 after he did knuckle down in the second innings in Barbados with a half-century.

Read why James Anderson is value for top England bowler here in profit-busting Hawk Eye

Ed Hawkins P-L

2019: +10.73
2018: +20.53pts
2017: +12pts
2016: +18.1pts
2015: +38pts
2014: +31.5pts
2013: +25pts
Based only on available prices. Does not include back-to-lay in-running match advice or commission rate. Figures 2013-2016 on 1pt level stakes. New points system (0.5pt-5) introduced for 2017. Includes Hawk-Eye stats column p-l

Ed Hawkins,

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