Money back if Kevin Pietersen is 1st innings top runscorer

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Alastair Cook has thus far failed to recreate the performances that led to many proclaiming the Essex man as the best batsman in the world.

In that 2010-11 Ashes, Cook scored a combined 766 runs, with his 235 not out at The Gabba contributing heavily to that tally. That was one of three centuries Cook scored in Australia and the England captain will be keen to get a big score under his belt having failed to hit those dizzy heights this time.

Now that the Urn is secured, expect the captain to play with confidence and there is no better time to back him to top score in the first innings for England, priced at 7/2, given that Ladbrokes are offering money back should his compatriot Kevin Pietersen take the honours instead.

Interestingly, the hosts have not played a Test at Chester-le-street since 2009 when they faced the West Indies. Cook’s 160 off 339 balls helped to force a Windies follow on and England did not require a second innings. A similar performance this time round will see him go close to returning a profit for backers.

Of those who played well that day and are still in the England side, Matt Prior is also sure to generate plenty of interest.

Prior smashed 63 in just over 80 minutes and is another who will be displeased with his scoring this series. He is yet to reach 50, but is more than capable of piling on the runs as he displayed with a 110 not out against New Zealand earlier in the summer. At 12/1, the wicket keeper could tempt those looking for a healthier priced option.

However, there is one man who is impossible to write off at the moment and that is Ian Bell at 9/2. Bell, who is currently top scorer in this series,has already notched two centuries, displaying the accomplished batting that has made him an England mainstay.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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