Can captain Cook finally score another century in Lord’s Test?
England are hoping to build on their remarkable first innings comeback in the opening Test against India, led by destined-for-greatness Yorkshire star Joe Root and bowler turned all-rounder James Anderson, who batted out a world record 10th wicket stand of 198.
Anderson hit an impressive 81, his first international half century and the highest ever for an England 11th batsman, while his cross-Pennines teammate Root (9/2 to get the highest score for the hosts again in the second Test) made a mature 154. On top of that, the Lancastrian then took three wickets, and he is 9/4 to be best with the ball for Peter Moores’ side once more.
The first Test at Trent Bridge ended a draw, with England not even managing the time to go out for their second innings, and Coral price the next encounter to be a tie as the more likely result again at 11/10. Hosts England are 7/4 favourites to win, with India priced at 10/3.
Captain Alastair Cook once again failed to deliver with the bat, although he managed an incredibly rare wicket – dismissing Ishtant Sharma – and has now gone 25 innings without a century, and has scored just 97 in his last seven.
His coach Moores, though, has backed Cook, who has the record amount of 100s for an England player in history. “It is a tough time when you are not getting runs,” Moores said. “But Alastair is a tough player, as he has shown throughout his career.
“It is a five-match series, and in a five-match series I expect Alastair to come through strongly, because he is a top-flight player. He has to stay strong.
“He has been through this situation before, and that is what makes great Test players – they can ride through it and come back strong. He will be very keen to put his mark on Lord’s.”
But you can back Cook to delver this time and be top England batsman in the first innings at 4/1, or for him to get the highest score for the hosts and his side win the second Test at 14/1.
Spinner Simon Kerrigan, meanwhile, who had a torrid time in England’s last Ashes victory, is in line to start, after being called up. He is 9/2 to be top first innings bowler for his side, but he will face competition from part-timer Moeen Ali, who took four wickets in the first Test. He is 6/1 in the same market.
For India, Murali Vijay hit 146 in their first innings and 52 in the second, and he is 4/1 to be top batsman for the visitors again. Bhuvneshwar Kumar impressed most with the ball for Duncan Fletcher’s men, getting a five-wicket haul, and is 11/4 to be best bowler once more.
The ICC Test rankings, meanwhile, have been released, with Root, 23, England’s new number one batsman, moving from 38 at the start of the season to 16 – two ahead of exiled star Kevin Pietersen. Ian Bell is next on the list in 20th, while Cook is 25th. Stuart Broad moves up four places to 10th in the bowling rankings.