England entertain New Zealand in the first of two Tests at Lords on Thursday when Whitby’s own Adam Lyth will win a belated first cap.
The experiment of playing Jonathan Trott as an opener went badly wrong in the West Indies and it was both sad and embarrassing to witness his demise in the Caribbean.
Lyth is 9/2 at BetVictor to be England’s top scorer at Lords with new vice-captain Joe Root 7/2 market leader. We have a market as to how many runs Lyth and skipper Alistair Cook will put on for the first wicket at BetVictor and bet:
Over 29.5 5/6
Under 29.5 5/6
Lyth is 5/1 to be the top English batsman in the series, Root 3/1 favourite; Tim Southee and Trent Boult are a formidable pair of opening bowlers and make no mistake, this is no warm-up for the Ashes which start in Cardiff in July.
The weather is set fair and it should be a cracking Test with the hosts favourites at 13/10 with the Black Caps 85/40 and the draw out to 2/1.
Jimmy Anderson showed against the Windies that, given favourable conditions, he remains a world class swing bowler and I am looking forward to seeing Durham’s Mark Wood, that rare commodity - a tee-total Geordie - also make his England debut.
This is just the start of a mouth-watering summer of international cricket but it promises to be a stern test for Alistair Cook’s revamped side; New Zealand have only won once at Lords back in 1999 but they might never have a better chance of doubling up and at 2/1 they are the recommendation.
It was suggested earlier in the week that Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling will snub any contract talks due to be held later in the week and BetVictor make Manchester City 15/8 favourites to sign the young England international by September 3.
Sterling still has two years left on his Anfield contract and Liverpool will try and fight off any suitors this summer especially after losing Luis Suarez last year, but they will not want an unhappy player on their hands and he has hardly set the Premier League alight in the second half of the season.
In an ideal world the Reds would offload Mario Balotelli, Fabio Borini and Ricky Lambert and replace them with Divock Origi (currently on loan at Lille), a fit Daniel Sturridge and a world class striker but it looks as if it is going to be a difficult summer for the club with the lack of Champions League football next term a concern in attracting top quality players.
Raheem Sterling to sign for before 3/9/15; prices from BetVictor
Manchester City 15/8
Real Madrid 12/1
Manchester United 12/1