England v Pakistan, 4th Test – The Oval live on Sky Sports 2
Driving home from the day job last Friday, I learnt from TMS that if you went by the history of Test cricket, England had a 3% chance of winning the Edgbaston Test once they had conceded a first innings lead exceeding 100. That Alastair Cook’s side turned round a 103 run deficit to avoid defeat wasn’t that surprising – what did surprise many was the way a seemingly toothless home attack came alive to squeeze out ten wickets on a final day when the draw traded heavy odds on – Pakistan find themselves 2-1 down with one to play. The Oval Test should be fascinating.
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The capital is set fair with blue skies and sunshine forecast throughout the test. The warm, sometimes breezy conditions could assist the seamers with any reverse swing.
Here’s a list of sides 1st innings scores at the Oval in the last six Tests along with the winner/result of each Test in bold text –
2015 – 1st inns – 481 (AUS), 2nd inns – 149 (ENG) – AUS
2014 – 1st inns – 148 (IND), 2nd inns – 486 (ENG) – ENG
2013 – 1st inns – 492/9d (AUS), 2nd inns – 377 (ENG) – DRAW
2012 – 1st inns – 385 (ENG), 2nd inns – 637/2d (SA) – SA
2011– 1st inns – 591/6d (ENG), 2nd inns – 300 (IND) – ENG
2010 – 1st inns – 233 (ENG), 2nd inns – 308 (PAK) – PAK
Batting in the 1st innings of the match in this period – Average 388
Batting in the 2nd innings of the match in this period – Average 376
NOTE – (we’ve ignored 3rd and 4th match innings for the purposes of this column which has been written for each sides 1st innings of the Test)
Form Guide & First Inns Runs
Here are England‘s last ten 1st innings scores in Tests, plus result in brackets –
297 (W) 589/8d (W) 272 (L) 416 (D) 498/9d (W) 298 (W) 342 (L) 323 (W) 629/6d (D) 303 (W) – Average 375
Here are Pakistan‘s last ten 1st innings scores in Tests, plus result in brackets –
400 (L) 198 (L) 339 (W) 234 (W) 378 (W) 523/8d (D) 215 (W) 138 (L) 417 (W) 557/8d (W) – Average 339
England‘s captain Cook is having a fine series, registering three 50’s and a century in the opening three Tests. Opening partner Alex Hales is averaging just 21 and his failures are being overshadowed somewhat by James Vince and Gary Ballance’s ongoing struggles. Vince keeps getting in and getting out and averages just 23 in 9 innings this summer. Joe Root’s 447 runs the most anyone has scored all series on either side, whilst wicket-keeper Jonny Bairstow’s 86 in the second digs at Edgbaston helped England set up a declaration. Adil Rashid could come in and partner Moeen (below) as a second spinner. If he does then it is likely to be Steven Finn who misses out. Jimmy Anderson is back as Test cricket’s number one bowler with a series average of 19 per wicket whilst Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes have both bowled with skill throughout the series, especially with the older ball.
Compact Pakistan opener Sami Aslam had an excellent debut at Edgbaston scoring 80 and 72 alongside Mohammad Hafeez who continues to struggle outside of Asia. The experienced Hafeez has scrambled just 102 runs in this series, way down on captain Misbah Ul-Haq (267) and Azhar Ali’s (216) contributions. Asad Shafiq averages 27.5 in the three matches despite bagging a pair at Edgbaston whilst gloveman Sarfraz Ahmed has a best of 46* and has batted well with a long tail. The bowlers have surprisingly all struggled post Lords with Sohail Khan’s 5/96 in the 1st innings at Edgbaston being the best spell a Pakistani bowler has mustered up post Yasir Shah at Lords. Leg spinner Yasir has taken just 4 wickets in the last 2 Tests and has been hit for 502 runs in the process. Mohammad Amir hasn’t hit the heights hyped pre-series, with a bowling average of 36.
Ones To Watch
Moeen Ali is quietly having a terrific series. Promoted up the order to number seven courtesy of Stokes’ injury, Moeen averages 58 with the bat and is suddenly having a decent series with the ball as well. His 9 wickets have been priceless for England and his series average of 39 per wicket is better than the much lauded Yasir’s.
With 31 Test tons and average of 52 over a sixteen year career, it would be brave to write off Younis Khan. The simple fact is the Pakistan legend looks very jumpy at the crease and is struggling to make his impact in a series that could well be his last. A series average of 20 and a best of 33 suggests time is catching up with the visitors eldest statesman.
If England bat first, I recommend backing any OVER RUNS around the 395-400 mark.
If Pakistan bat first, I recommend backing any OVER RUNS around the 320-325 mark.
Top First Innings Batsman Market
I’ve got a feeling Alex Hales will repay the selectors faith with a big score this week. He can be backed at 6.0 to top score in England‘s first innings.
Mohammad Hafeez had a couple of shocking dismissals at Edgbaston but should enjoy conditions more at the Oval. He is priced at 7.0 to top score for Pakistan first time around.
Prices correct at time of writing.