IF RECENT summers have taught us anything, it’s that momentum is overrated.
Pakistan, Australia, New Zealand, and of course, England, have all bounced back from heavy defeats to claim convincing victories in the following Tests, so bettors looking at the series as a whole shouldn’t read too much into one team starting off like a house on fire.
If anything, those swings in fortune show just how inconsistent this England side are, and with an Ashes series rapidly approaching, this is something Joe Root will have to solve in his tenure as captain.
It’s a punishing schedule for both sides, with four matches in five weeks – in all probability, the team who can keep the most players fit should win.
With not much between the sides, I’m happy to back the home advantage of England. A 2-1 series victory is a general 4/1.
The schedule is bad news for the aging Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad, who are both carrying knocks into the series, which means I’m happy to overlook them both for top England bowler.
Instead, I’ll go for Mark Wood, who looked back to his fiery best during the Champions Trophy, and will be raring to go after nearly two years out of Test cricket.
The Durham man is 4/1 to finish at England’s leading wicket taker, which I advise backing.
England to win 2-1 - 4/1 (general)
Mark Wood top England series bowler - 4/1 (general)