England get their summer of Test cricket underway next Thursday when they take on West Indies at Lords in the first of a three match series.
Andrew Strauss and his side go into the series as clear favourites on home soil and they will be looking for a successful summer to keep their status as the number one side in world.
England had a difficult winter of Test cricket, they were comprehensively when they were beaten by Pakistan in the UAE. They then went on to draw a two match series with Sri Lanka 1-1.
With the last performance from Strauss’ men being a victory they will go into the match here with some restored confidence.
Head coach Andy Flower will have a tough test in picking the top six batsmen for the match at Lords. There is no doubt that the number one side in Test cricket were well below par with the bat over the winter.
A fantastic knock from Kevin Pietersen against Sri Lanka will give him a lot more confidence going into the summer. However Pietersen will need to adjust to this format of the game again as he has been playing in the Indian Premier League.
As for the West Indies, they have not enjoyed much success in Test cricket over recent years. They are currently ranked number seven in the world.
Darren Sammy faces the task of leading his side to victory in England in this series. They managed to beat England in the West Indies back in 2009 but have not won away from home against The Three Lions since 1988.
With their last test victory coming against Bangladesh last year, Sammy’s side don’t go into this series with the best of spirits and know they will have to be at their best to upset Andrew Strauss’ team.
England are unsurprisingly big favourites to win the first Test at Lords. You can back them at 3.60 (3/5) with BWIN.
The West Indies know that they are massive underdogs to win at the home of cricket. They are available at 8.50 (15/2) with BetFred.
Highest Scoring Batsmen
After his good form in their last Test, Kevin Pietersen is one of the favourites to be highest scorer for his side this series with odds of 4.33 (10/3) with William Hill.
West Indies hopes of scoring runs come mainly through veteran Shivnarine Chanderpaul. His odds are 3.00 with SkyBet to be his country’s leading scorer in the series.
With the English weather not looking like improving any time soon, getting five full days play in seems unlikely. A recommended bet is for the match to be drawn but England to win the series which is being offered at 4.00 (3/1) with Bet365.