Cricket betting: Home sweet home for Woakes and England in crucial third Test

 
Will Atkins
England v Pakistan: 2nd Investec Test - Day Three
in-form Woakes is back at his home ground for England's third Test with Pakistan (Source: Getty)

Momentum is an oft-used word during a Test series, but in recent times its importance has waned.

Last summer saw England and Australia trade blows in a see-sawing Ashes series that finished 3-2 to the hosts.

England won the first, third and fourth Tests, though were completely outplayed in the other two, as the idea of momentum being essential for victory went the same way as the Aussies’ chances of lifting the urn.

The first two matches of the current Pakistan series have seen the same pattern followed.

A dominant win for the tourists at Lord’s was immediately followed by an English resurgence at Old Trafford, with Alastair Cook’s side victorious by 330 runs.

After leg-spinner Yasir Shah tormented the hosts by taking 10 wickets in London, Pakistan were only able to take nine English scalps in Manchester, with Shah returning meagre figures of just one for 264.

Cook made 105 and 76 not out, though he was overshadowed by a virtuoso performance from Joe Root, whose 325 runs in the match were the highest by an Englishman since Graham Gooch in 1990.

The worry for England is that Cook and Root’s display masks what is still a fragile batting card.

Another injury to Ben Stokes puts even more pressure on James Vince and Gary Ballance, with neither really looking like Test batsmen.

Fortunately, Edgbaston is usually the hosts' favourite ground. A combination of a conducive pitch and raucous crowd has helped them to three wins in their last four there.

Play starts on Wednesday and Betway make it 4/7 for another win this week, which I will be backing.

The ground tends to bring out the best in England, with Cook making 294 against India in 2011 and Jimmy Anderson taking 6/47 against Australia last year.

It is also the home of England’s all-round man of the moment, Chris Woakes, and he knows how to perform here more than anyone.

In his first Test in front of his local crowd he should be able to continue his remarkable run of form, which is tempting me to buy his match performance at 130 with Sporting Index.

Pointers

England 4/7 (Betway)

Buy Woakes performance 130 (Sporting Index)

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