West Indies v England Third ODI Betting: Back on track England

Ben Stokes
We missed out on Stokes

Ed Hawkins says the visitors should still prevail in Grenada on Monday despite an unusual panic in game two...

"With faith diminished in England more opportunities should arise and they are still rated significantly higher than West Indies, who, don’t forget, haven’t won a series for nearly five years"

West Indies v England
Monday February 25, 13:30
Live on Sky Sports Cricket

Windies need extra batter this time

West Indies levelled the series in the second double-header at Bridgetown and they can give themselves a hearty slap on the back. The decision to pick Sheldon Cottrell and drop Nic Pooran, who had debuted in game one, was the game.

Cottrell took five wickets with his left-arm pace, troubling England with his awkward angle and lengths. It was a brave pick, although necessary with Kemar Roach out and the hosts desperate for firepower to quell England hitters, because it meant West Indies were a batter short.

That didn't matter, though, with Shimron Hetmyer, a constant thorn in England's side this tour, hitting a superb century. Chris Gayle had played an anchor role to notch another fifty.

Pooran could return for game three. It could be another smart move. Oshane Thomas has been expensive and looks dispensable, largely because all-rounders like Jason Holder and Carlos Brathwaite mean Windies don't need to scrimp on batters.

England panicked

Set 290 to win on a ground that only days before they had chased a record score, England should have felt pretty comfortable at the break. They were probably unduly concerned when Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy both went with only ten on the board.

Eoin Morgan and Ben Stokes then proved that panic was not justified. Without sacrificing the rate, they got the chase back on course and after Morgan fell for 70, Jos Buttler took up the mantle. At 228 for four in the 40th the match looked over as a contest.

But this was the time England did panic. They completely lost their nerve which was most out of character for the best chasing team around. In the end, they didn't even get close losing by 26 runs in the 48th.

It is hard not to give West Indies credit but losing five wickets for 38 on the road will rightly raise alarm bells for the World Cup favourites. It's a performance which pre-tournament outright bettors will not forget in a hurry.

There have been five ODIs at St George's, Grenada in the last ten years. And runmaking has not been especially easy. One match produced a score of 300 or more but the average is 257 with no team passing more than 250 in the last three. Bangladesh were bowled out for 70 in the last match in 2014.

Keep faith in England trade

West Indies are 3.185/40 to take a 2-1 lead with two to play while England are 1.444/9. The latter price is impossible to stomach in the wake of game two.

It was a particularly difficult defeat to take for traders who would have gone big on England in-running in the first innings when 1.84/5 was available and when they drifted to odds-again with early wickets in the chase. A sound strategy, tested in the first match, was undone.

Still, it is not all together bad news. With faith diminished in England more opportunities should arise and they are still rated significantly higher than West Indies, who, don't forget, haven't won a series for nearly five years.

Getting with England at prices upwards of 1.804/5, particularly chasing, seems smart. It would be wrong to have a knee-jerk reaction to one game.

Bravo Bravo

Significant ground form for Darren Bravo at St George's. He has two fifties, an unbeaten ton and a man of the match award to his name. He is 4/1 with Betfair Sportsbook for top WI bat honours. Gayle, as you would expect, is the 3/1 favourite followed by Shai Hope at 7/2. Hetmyer is 9/2.

Bairstow still a bet

Stokes top scored for England last time. It is with regret that our Hawk Eye stats column did not retain the faith, wrongly reckoning the pace would have been set by the frontrunners on a good wicket. The edge was there with a wrong price but the 13/2 (Sportsbook) is more like it this time. Jonny Bairstow remains underrated at 10/3 and statistically he should be favourite ahead of Joe Root at 11/4.

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