The first test of the summer at Lord’s was a low scoring affair with neither side managing to make more than 250. The pitch was atypical for headquarters being somewhat sluggish and even offering some assistance to orthodox spin from early on. A damp outfield didn’t help matters with many shots which might have been boundaries come August pulling up inside the ropes.
Headingley promises to offer a quite different surface. Various ex-pro pitch reading shamen are predicting a flat one and their reading is supported by cold hard stats. Joe Root, by a distance England’s most impressive batsman at Lord’s, made 236 here earlier in the season for Yorkshire (vs Derbyshire) and in the most recent match on the ground Adil Rashid (remember him?) made 180.
With an England batting order keen to answer critics and certain players (Bairstow, Compton and Root in particular) looking to cement places in advance of KP’s return and The Ashes, big tons are surely on the cards. With no batsman having reached three figures in London, both Sporting and Spreadex make England’s series (effectively match) ton-ups 52-57 or, if you fancy one or two of the Kiwis to make big runs too, combined ton-ups can be had at 74-81 at Spreadex (a point preferable for buyers compared to Sporting).
In principle it would make sense to be long on England ton-ups. However, the forecast for later in the week is mixed (i.e. actually pretty horrible) and rain is not conducive to big scores – batsmen can’t make runs sat in the pavilion and overcast conditions tend to favour a bowling side – so it would be wise to treat this market with caution and with an eye on the sky.
Recommendation: if it shows signs of sun in Leeds, BUY England ton-ups @57