Cricket Betting: Fightback undermined by top order
Kirk Edwards was the only batsman with an excuse, having been laid up with flu all day before coming out to bat, clearly unwell, with an over to go before stumps.
Andrew Hughes details the latest of the Test match between England and the West Indies, with England looking more likely by the moment to take the Series.
DAY THREE WRAP: West Indies 61-6 lead by 3 runs in their second innings
England 1.03, West Indies 40.0, Draw 100.0
For two consecutive Tests the West Indies lower middle order have batted with application and no little style, and their opening bowlers have had spells when they looked genuinely dangerous.
Sadly, their good efforts have been repeatedly undone, partly by some sloppy fielding, but mainly by the collective failure of their specialist batsmen.
And so it was again on Sunday.
Some typically aggressive counter-attacking batting from the England tail eventually gave the home side a first innings lead of 58 but that was around 200 or so less than many people had forecasted yesterday evening, given that they started the day just 111 runs behind with 8 wickets in hand. But after Ravi Rampaul got the vital early wicket of Kevin Pietersen, Kemar Roach steamed in with the second new ball to remove Ian Bell and Jonny Bairstow and lead yet another West Indian fightback.
If they were to build on that admirable bowling effort, the tourists needed their top order to bat with application and resolve. Instead, they wilted once more in the face of some fine bowling by James Anderson. Poor footwork and shot selection did for Adrian Barath, Darren Bravo and Keiran Powell and then Shivnarine Chanderpaul tossed his wicket onto the bonfire with an ill-judged hook shot. Kirk Edwards was the only batsman with an excuse, having been laid up with flu all day before coming out to bat, clearly unwell, with an over to go before stumps.
So what pride can the West Indies possibly salvage from this position?
Well, first innings heroes Darren Sammy and Marlon Samuels are still there but they'd need to set England a target of at least 250 to have any chance of pulling off an unlikely victory and with only the tail to come, you'd want at least double the 40.039/1 currently on offer about a West Indies victory.
With the result not really at issue, the Test Match End market is worth a look. 'Day Four - Afternoon' is the current 1.96 favourite, but all it would take is a couple of early strikes from Anderson and this game would be over in a hurry, so I'd side with 'Day Four - Morning' at 3.05.