If you were to look back over time at Pakistan and their opponents, you would be hard-pressed to find them matching up against a side that were considered as unpredictable as they are. Coming into the Lord’s test match and the first of two test matches to be played between England and Pakistan, there only looked like one winner.
Pakistan had toiled in Malahide to beat a spirited Irish team just before they came out to the UK for the test series and, with question marks over the fitness of star bowler Mohammad Amir, it was seen as the perfect time to get back to winning ways for England. Any hope of redemption after a miserable summer abroad was quickly snuffed out when Joe Root chose to bat under overcast skies.
England were bundled out for 184 and effectively ruled themselves out of winning the two match test series. Pakistan would live up to their mercurial reputation and win by nine wickets at the Home of Cricket. It was a different story altogether in Leeds as England won by an innings and 55 runs and the battle of the unpredictables was aptly shared at 1-1.
Before the comprehensive win at Headingley, you have to go back to September 2017 to find the last time England won a test match. An away tour to Australia is far from easy but it’s not an insurmountable task to push the hosts and even win; South Africa have done it three times in the last ten years.
Mark Stoneman is out for the second time today as he skies one to mid-wicket for 2.
— Test Match Special (@bbctms) March 15, 2018
The troubles followed in New Zealand with a forgettable capitulation of 58 all out in the first innings of the tour. The rot seems to have spread to home soil as well and it’s no surprise that it has. England still haven’t found an opening partner for Alastair Cook that can blunt the new ball and, because of that, they are finding themselves four or five down before they reach 100. The same mistakes are being repeated and England’s vulnerabilities exposed by quality fast bowling up front.
The unpredictable nature of the current England side makes the five test series against India almost impossible to call. What is a certainty is that, if the English think tank doesn’t find a way to consolidate at the top of the order, they will be picked apart by an ever-improving Indian fast bowling unit.
Punters who are in two minds about the upcoming test series and are looking for cricket betting tips can increase their chances of calling the action with in-play betting after laying a draw to start with. It’s hard to know how England will approach the series so waiting for the action to unfold will provide the insight and take away the current uncertainty when punting on England. This can be a good cricket betting strategy to use, especially when dealing with a team that blows as hot or cold as the Three Lions.
The problems at the top of the order put massive pressure on the bowlers and increase their workload to backbreaking levels but the biggest concern with a faltering opening pair is that Joe Root is unable to play his talismanic part. Early wickets see his partners fall quickly and, often, he is a casualty of the carnage going on around him.
— OptaJim (@OptaJim) March 22, 2018
When England thrive, Joe Root is anchoring the innings by putting together big hundreds. Once the opening pair is settled England will have the luxury again of utilizing their star players without being under enormous amounts of pressure.