Although Andrew Strauss has already successfully reached his half century in England’s first innings of the third Test with India, Ian Bell may prove the better bet to end the innings as England’s top runscorer.
Strauss closed on 52 not out as England reached 84 without loss at the end of the opening day, having bowled India out for the relatively modest total of 224.
The score is the highest made by Strauss in the Test series with India to date and he will now be keen to turn his good start into a century.
Strauss is rightly the favourite at 1/1 in the cricket odds to be England’s top first innings runscorer, while it is 11/8 that the captain does go on to make 100.
Alastair Cook is the other player currently at the crease and has largely struggled for runs in the series.
With India’s pace bowlers having rested overnight and the England batsmen having to effectively start again on the second morning, it would be no surprise if either failed to markedly build on their overnight totals.
Bell is 7/1 to be top runscorer and his in-depth knowledge of the Edgbaston pitch and current confidence high are both reasons to expect him to make a big contribution.
Being part of Warwickshire’s county cricket team means that Bell has played more than any other current England player at Edgbaston and he should therefore have a good idea of what problems the pitch may possess.
Meanwhile, with Jonathan Trott out, Bell will bat at number three for the second Test in succession and he made 159 in the second Test at Trent Bridge from this position in the batting order.
Matt Prior is enjoying a magical series with the bat and his ability to add quick runs towards the end of an innings may make him slightly overpriced at 16/1 to be England’s top runscorer.