Pakistan v England first Test: Ali opens and Rashid makes debut
Sam Barnard, Assistant Sports Editor | October 12, 2015
Moeen Ali has won the race to open for England’s first of three Tests with Pakistan, to add to a long list of partners for captain Alastair Cook, and the spinning all-rounder is 6/1 with Coral to top score for the visitors in their first innings.
However, the Worcestershire player, who edged out Alex Hales in the team, has been far from impressive in the warm-up games so far with Pakistan A, managing knocks of just 22 and 20.
Fellow spinning all-rounder Adil Rashid, who has benefited from Ali’s promotion up the order, on the other hand, has looked good with both bat and ball, and is seemingly inspired ahead of his long-awaited England Test debut against the nation of his heritage.
The Yorkshireman, who also helped his county to their second successive championship this season, is 7/2 to be best bowler for his side in the first innings following his three wickets in the last warm-up. While he is a tempting 25/1 in the batting market after hitting 51 in the match before.
Rashid’s Yorkshire clubmate Joe Root, though, is the man to back in that latter market, after his incredible recent rise to the top of the rankings and scoring exploits in the Ashes. He is now down to number three so will be keen to knock Steve Smith back of his perch again, so is priced at 11/4 to be best batsman.
In terms of bowling, England will have to make do without Steven Finn, who looked in fine form during the tour, due to a foot injury. Instead it will be Stuart Broad and James Anderson to lead the attack, and they are both priced at 11/4 in the bowler market.
Mark Wood (3/1) looks set to take the third seamer spot, while Ben Stokes (5/1) will be hoping to carry on his form.
Pakistan have a couple of injury worries for the first Test, with batsman Azhar Ali ruled out and spinner Yasir Shah a doubt.
But Younis Khan is fit and raring to go, and has the chance to become the highest ever scorer in Test cricket for his nation if he gets just 19 runs. The 37-year-old is 3/1 to be best Pakistan batsman.
Current captain and fellow veteran Misbah-ul-Haq, 41, meanwhile, is the subject of a Coral special, with terrific odds of 11/1 available for him to top score for his team in the first innings and the hosts win (max stake £20).
Pakistan are the 6/5 favourites to win the first match, given that they whitewashed England (9/4) 3-0 here in their last Test meeting. A draw is priced at 9/4.
Coral’s top tip: With Joe Root in top form, he is a tempting 12/1 price to be top England scorer and his team win (max stake £20).