Two games into the series and Pakistan’s batting hadn’t improved from the awful display they demonstrated against Australia.
A batting collapse in the third test seemed highly likely and the Oval didn’t disappoint – except this time it came from England – offering Pakistan a chance of levelling the series in the fourth and final test.
Bar a century from under pressure Alastair Cook, poor batting in both innings of the third test was enough to allow Pakistan a shot at drawing the four-match series and England coach Andy Flower has challenged his side to right the wrongs when the fourth test starts at Lord’s on Thursday.
Yorkshire all-rounder Tim Bresnan has been called up to the 12-man squad but England are likely to stick with an unchanged side as they hope to build on a positive year heading into this winter’s ashes in Australia, of which they are currently a 9/4 shot to defeat the Aussies in their own back yard.
Last weekend’s slip-up was put down to trying conditions at the Oval but after convincingly beating Pakistan in the first two tests, the England set-up will not want to leave this series with anything but a win.
Cook silenced the critics with his second innings century but there are still causes for concern with his first innings score of six and the 9/2 for Cook to be top England first innings runscorer looks short, whereas Jonathan Trott has been England’s most consistent batsman throughout the series and is a tempting 4/1.
Trott has 220 runs in the series, eight runs ahead of nearest rival Matt Prior, and with Trott batting at four and Prior at eight, the 11/8 for Trott to be England’s top series runscorer is the value of the market.
England will not like to squander a two-match series lead and decent weather conditions will allow England to play for victory. See the full NPower England vs Pakistan Fourth Test betting market here.