Gayle return leads batting changes to pose England bigger threat

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The West Indies may have surpassed the 300-run barrier in at least one innings of their three Test matches with England, but some changes to their batting line-up may cause the hosts more problems in their one-day series.

Despite a performance that was arguably better than many expected, the West Indies never really looked likely to win a Test match, but this is not something that can be carried into the one-day arena.

Therefore, the 6/5 on offer in the cricket odds that the West Indies win the first ODI with England could be a reasonable price, while it is 11/8 that they come out on top across the three-match series.

The recent one-day series with Australia may have ended in a draw, but the West Indies should have perhaps won it and they showed against Middlesex when making 335/4 that they have a batting unit capable of totalling a big score.

Chris Gayle’s return from over a year out of the international fold is the big talking point and he will certainly not hang around at the top of the innings.

Gayle finished the recent Indian Premier League season as the event’s top runscorer and if the West Indies bat first and he finds his timing, England will face a major run chase.

It is 7/1 that Gayle scoops the man of the match accolade for the first ODI and given that he could also be a weapon in the bowling department, this looks a decent price.

Kieron Pollard is another capable of smashing sixes all over the park, while skipper Darren Sammy can land some mighty blows if the pressure is off towards the end of an innings.

Although hardly defensive, Darren Bravo and Dwayne Smith provide the more cultured approach to shot making and will have the duty of trying to bat through the innings.

Bravo is the sole survivor from the batting line-up from the Test team and will have the added advantage of being more acclimatised to English conditions.

If England fail to take early wickets and allow the West Indies to make the most of the powerplay overs, 4/6 will look a short price that they win the first ODI, especially with Kevin Pietersen not in the team.

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

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.