England and Pakistan have squared off in the first Test of the three-match series at the Emirates Old Trafford from August 5, Wednesday.
It has been an incredible day for Pakistan as they just did not let England have any room whatsoever and have controlled the day’s play with extreme grit and valour. Apart from the two early blows, Shan Masood and the sensation on the rise, Babar Azam, have batted brilliantly to see off the day. This knock from Azam was coming and we just could not miss it, could we? I have a feeling we have a lot more in store for us as Masood and Azam are well set and Pakistan are looking at a big score here. If England bowlers don’t make that early breakthrough, they could well be trailing by a lot of runs. Pakistan ended the rain-curtailed first day of this Test on 139 for the loss of two wickets. Now, that you are already aware of what has happened on the first day, let me bring to you the spread of lucrative markets to bet on for Day 2.
Nasser Hussain said today that Babar Azam has added himself to that list of ‘fab four’ and made it ‘fab five’ as he has been sublimely consistent. Azam walked into this series with a lot of confidence and he scored a half-century in one of the practice matches as well. Azam has played the likes of James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Jofra Archer and Chris Woakes quite brilliantly and is currently unbeaten on 69* runs from 100 balls - that is some strike rate in a Test match! In the last four Test matches, Azam has gone on to score three centuries and quite certainly, the stylish right-hander is hungry for more. Remember, this is only his second Test match against England at their backyard and he has not been dismissed yet, piling up 137 runs. Therefore, there is no average available yet for this sensational batsman! Prior to this series, Azam scored 143 runs against Bangladesh (in a one-off test) and before that, he racked up 262 runs against Sri Lanka in just two Test matches including two centuries and one fifty. The way Azam has handled the English seamers, there is only one word for him - stupendously commendable! Bet 365 is offering odds of 1.90 for this market and in no way you can miss it!
On one hand, Azam has scored freely and attacked the bowlers but, on the other, Masood has played the holding role on Day 1. Masood has blocked, blocked and blocked the pace quartet of the Three Lions and has let Azam play his natural game. Masood is unbeaten on 46* from 152 balls and he has already exceeded his average expectations. The southpaw averages 21.87 against England in the longest format of the game and is yet to score a fifty. Masood manages to push that average upto 29.25 when he is playing on the English soil. When he is playing away from, that average goes further upto 37.16 and has one hundred and three fifties. Last year, he played six Test matches and had scored 440 runs including one hundred and two half centuries. To be honest, Masood should be thanking his stars that he is still batting out there as Jos Buttler missed two stumping chances off Dom Bess. Therefore, in no way, I feel, he is going to score more than 73 runs tomorrow and I am counting on Bess, especially, as the left-hander has struggled against the off-spinner. Bet 365 is offering the best odds of 1.90 for this market, so, head over to their website and place your bets.
The England opener is likely to have a big task up his sleeves to give the hosts a good start to their innings. Rory Burns has been decent with his willow at the top of the batting order and as a result of that the southpaw has retained his place in the lineup. In 19 Test matches, Burns has maintained an average of 35.67 and has scored 1213 runs including two centuries and eight half centuries. Burns has played 10 out of those 19 games on his home soil and has scored 636 runs at an average of 37.41 including one hundred and four fifties. In this calendar year, Burns has played four Test matches and has managed to score 234 runs at an average of 46.80 with two half tons to his name. He had a decent series against West Indies recently and is expected to bring in his form into this series against Pakistan as well. In case you didn’t know, Burns has an average of 55.83 in the second match innings of any Test match and has racked up 335 runs in six matches including two centuries and one fifty. Therefore, one can really count on Burns when it comes to scoring at least 33 runs in the first innings for England. William Hill is the website you should head to as they are offering odds of 1.83 for this market to bet on!