How the Bookies See it
- Series Winner: England 4/11, Draw 5/1, Pakistan 5/1 - Bet365
- Top England Batsman: Joe Root, 2/1, Alastair Cook 7/2, Alex Hales 4/1, Jonny Bairstow 5/1 - BetVictor
- Top England Bowler: Stuart Broad 2/1, Chris Woakes 7/2, Steven Finn 7/2, Moeen Ali 11/2 - 888Sport
- Top Pakistan Batsman: Younis Khan 11/4, Azhar Ali 9/2, Misbah-ul-Haq 4/1, Mohammad Hafeez 4/1 - Paddy Power
- Top Pakistan Bowler: Mohammad Amir 13/8, Yasir Shah 2/1, Rahat Ali 6/1, Wahab Riaz 7/1 - Ladbrokes
- England have won their two most recent Test series, having beaten South Africa 2-1 away from home in the winter and then Sri Lanka 2-0 earlier this summer.
- Pakistan have not played any Test cricket since they faced England in the United Arab Emirates last October and November. Pakistan won that series 2-0 in completely different conditions to what they will encounter in England, but have adapted well in their two warm-up matches on this tour and drawn with both Somerset and Sussex.
- England won 3-1 when the teams last met in England in 2010, although the series was overshadowed by allegations that two Pakistan bowlers had deliberately bowled no balls. Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir, along with captain Salman Butt, were later found to be guilty and sentenced to time in prison, as well as being given long-term bans from cricket.
England’s series against Sri Lanka was too much of a mismatch to be very enjoyable as the hosts cruised to victory, and the four matches with Pakistan are sure to be far more competitive. England’s top order is still far from settled and Pakistan’s bowlers will test them, but the key factor could be how well the touring side copes when they come to bat. Although James Anderson will be absent from the first Test due to injury, England’s attack still has considerable ability and a narrow series win might be the likeliest outcome. If you fancy betting on the correct series score, 888Sport has the best odds of England winning 2-1 at 9/2.
Looking at the player markets, it is no surprise to see Joe Root, Alastair Cook and Alex Hales at the top of the betting in the market for the best England batsman. However, Amir’s prowess with the new ball will make it difficult for all three, and a better bet might be made on wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow, who has the shelter of playing in the middle order and was imperious against Sri Lanka, topping the run charts with 387 at an average of 129. He is the fourth favourite to be England’s best batsman but offers good value at 5/1.
Amir is the understandable favourite to be Pakistan’s leading wicket-taker but Yasir Shah, at 13/4 with 888Sport, is also an interesting contender. He gave England a lot of problems in the UAE and could be even more of a handful than Amir on some of the pitches in this series, particularly the flat Lord’s wicket and the bouncier surface of The Oval.
- Sports.net’s top tip: Jonny Bairstow to be top England batsman at 5-1 - William Hill
*Please note, odds may fluctuate before and during the series