England can edge a little closer to the Test summit



THERE promises to be an electric atmosphere for the second Test at Trent Bridge today after England completely outclassed the current world No1 side to secure a 196-run victory at Lord’s.

Andrew Strauss hailed the “perfect” performance as one of the best of his tenure and the side are now in an excellent position to hammer home the advantage in Nottingham. Weather forecasters suggest the conditions will be favourable, which means we should have five full days of action ahead of us.

With a 1-0 lead, England are now available at 1/3 with William Hill for the series, while the draw has drifted to 4/1. India have earned a reputation for fightbacks on overseas tours, but they remain a 9/1 shot with Paddy Power to turn this one around. On their tour in 2002 they lost the opener at Lord’s before drawing in Nottingham and winning at Headingley to level the series 1-1.

Recently, however, Trent Bridge has proved a happy hunting ground for the Three Lions and they handed Pakistan a 354-run defeat on their most recent visit in 2010. England also won their prior Test here with a one-sided innings and nine run success against New Zealand in 2008.

James Anderson will fancy his chances on the Nottingham track where the ball is likely to swing. He has 28 wickets at an average of 15.89 at Trent Bridge and he’ll be on the hunt for successive five-fers in the series. Sporting Index have set his bowling index (10pts per wicket, 25pts bonus for a five-fer) spread at 53-58 and I would be happy to buy at that price given his outstanding form and record here.

There will also be plenty of interest around Kevin Pietersen after his outstanding 202 not out in the opening innings at Lord’s. That knock leaves us in a very strong situation as we bought his series runs at 310 with Sporting Index last week. His run spread is now 425-440, so those wishing to trade out could net a 115-point profit. However, Pietersen hit 115 at Trent Bridge in 2008 when facing New Zealand and his 6/4 price with William Hill to be England’s top batsman is worth taking.

India were actually the last team to beat England in Nottingham with a seven wicket triumph in 2007. If the visitors are going to win this time, they’ll need all their key players to perform better than they did at Lord’s. Tendulkar still has the talent to turn the series back in India’s favour, but he has clearly struggled on this tour and is not in the same form that helped him to 177 runs on his first visit to Trent Bridge in 1996. The Little Magician scored just 46 runs in his two innings at Lord’s.

Even if India improve significantly in this match, the momentum remains with the hosts and it’s hard to look past England at 1.95 on Betdaq to take a 2-0 lead in the series.