England v Pakistan
Tuesday 13 July 13.00
TV: live on Sky Sports
Do England change it?
Babar Azam has been a major disappointment so far for Pakistan. Could a return to Edgbaston spark an upturn in his fortunes?
The last time the Pakistan captain played in Birmingham he hit an unbeaten century against New Zealand in the 2019 World Cup and took the man of the match award home. Perhaps he needs that feelgood vibe from familiar successful territory to get his tour up and running.
Babar has been price-boosted to 13/5 with Sportsbook for top Pakistan runscorer honours. It’s not big enough. Sportsbook are clearly expecting something special. The 6/1 about him winning another gong is disappointingly skinny. Alas that’s just out on his win rate in the market in his career – 11.2% versus 14.3%.
As we’re sticklers for finding wrong prices, we have to advise a small interest in Hasan Ali for top Pakistan bat at 80/1. Look, it’s a big gamble but Hasan is no mug with the bat and he has troubled the scorers more often than Shadab Khan and Faheem Ashraf. With Pakistan struggling against the new ball, we’re hoping 30 or 40 from Hasan could win it.
Top Pakistan bat wins/matches last three years
Zaman 7 t/26
Babar 6 t/28
Top Pakistan bowler wins/matches last three years
Afridi 7 4t/20
Hasan 3 2t/14
Rauf 1 t/7
It might be time to go back in again on Shaheen Shah Afridi for top Pakistan bowler. Afridi has one win in the series – the solitary wicket in the thrashing in game one – and Edgbaston could suit his tyle.
There should be some assistance for the classy swinger. He certainly enjoyed the track on his previous visit, claiming three wickets against New Zealand in that World Cup match. He took out Colin Munro, Tom Latham and Ross Taylor to put the game in Pakistan’s pocket.
Hasan, who is 10/3, outbowled Shaheen at Lord’s with five wickets but as you can see from the data above, it’s not been a much of a contest when it comes to taking honours. Shaheen is 5/2 with Sportsbook, giving us 6.4% implied probability points on win rate. That is a hefty edge for such a market.
Stay with Stokes
The key to successful betting, as we keep saying until we are blue in the face, is taking a wrong piece. So despite two losers on Ben Stokes for top England bat, we have to retain the faith.
Stokes didn’t bat in the first game. In the second he was well-placed to chase down Phil Salt’s 60. With just less than 25 overs to go, Stokes was 22 not out and he looked poised to take England to a strong total. Then he missed a straight one from Hasan. It was an open-mouthed moment because the stand-in skipper is usually so reliable.
The result is that Sportsbook have pushed him out to 5/1 for top bat. Stokes has five wins in his last 22 for England (and up against better team-mates). That’s a win rate that suggests he should be closer to the 16/5 mark. The discrepancy between the number of times he wins and the odds give us an implied probability edge of almost six points.
As you would expect, Stokes likes Edgbaston. In three innings he has an unbeaten century and a fifty in England colours.