STAR PREVIEW: Ashes Second Test with RYAN SIDEBOTTOM

I‘m a glass half full man, rather than half empty, now I have had chance to reflect on England’s first Test performance against Australia in The Ashes. I certainly don’t see any reason to press the panic button just yet. The 251-run defeat can largely be put down to the performance of one player – which can often be the way in Test cricket. Steve Smith excelled for Australia at Edgbaston with a 286 run haul.

Despite the result, it was a great watch and had all the elements of a good game which was ebbing and flowing.  I don’t think England need to be too disheartened. What they can’t afford to do though is to lose quick wickets which is becoming a nasty habit and immediately puts them on the back foot.

Stats are there to be broken but a loss at Lord’s would require England to be only the second team ever to come from 2-0 down to win a five-match series.

A loss against Australia would also mean a first consecutive home Test defeat against any side for 11 years.

If the sun is out at Lord’s I’d be tempted to bat first but if it rains then bowling first is the preferred option.

At first glance, I was surprised to see the DRAW at odds-on with starsports.bet but then I checked the weather forecast and there’s plenty of rain forecast – particularly over Friday and Saturday which could easily stall proceedings.

A couple of sporting options on the second Test. Ben Stokes looks a spot of value at 6/1 with starsports.bet to be England’s top run scorer whilst Jack Leach makes plenty of appeal at the same price to be top wicket taker.

Leach, Somerset’s left-arm spinner, replaces Moeen Ali.

England second Ashes Test squad: Joe Root (York, capt), Jofra Archer (Sussex), Jonny Bairstow (Yorks), Stuart Broad (Notts), Rory Burns (Surrey), Jos Buttler (Lancs), Sam Curran (Surrey), Joe Denly (Kent), Jack Leach (Somerset), Jason Roy (Surrey), Ben Stokes (Durham), Chris Woakes (Warks).

RECOMMENDED BETS (scale of 1-100 points)
BACK BEN STOKES TOP ENGLAND BATSMAN 2 pts at 6/1 with starsports.bet
BACK JACK LEACH TOP ENGLAND WICKET TAKER 2 pts at 6/1 with starsports.bet


PROFIT/LOSS SINCE JAN 1 2017: PROFIT 249.07 points
(excluding Ryan Sidebottom Ashes bet (c/f double and Ashes preview outright), Political Bets posted 8 August, Premier League ante-post)