Although it is now odds-on that England’s first Test with Sri Lanka ends as a draw, some key late wickets on the opening day mean that Andrew Strauss’ men may be good value to snatch victory in Cardiff.
Rain kept both teams off the field for much of the opening day, with England only getting 48 overs with the ball to take some wickets.
Sri Lanka batted sensibly for much of this time as openers Tharanga Paranavitana and Tillakaratne Dilshan both reached their half centuries.
But Dilshan and the dangerous Kumar Sangakkara were both dismissed late on to leave honours fairly even with Sri Lanka 133/2.
The weather disruption is the main reason that the draw is 8/11 in the cricket odds, but with no rain forecast in Cardiff for the second day’s play, England can take a stranglehold on the match.
Paranavitana may have acclimatised to the pitch well to make a fairly watchful 58, but he will have to start again, while former captain Mahela Jayawardene will be expected to stick around to form the backbone of the innings.
England’s odds are 2/1 to win the first Test and their bowlers should improve for the overs they got through on day one.
Key to their chances of taking early wickets could be introducing Graeme Swann to the attack earlier, particularly to bowl at the left-handed Paranavitana.
Swann was not utilised until the 27th over on day one but still managed to bowl Dilshan.
Therefore, another good bet could be the 4/1 that the next Sri Lankan wicket to fall is courtesy of an lbw.
Not only is this potentially the most likely way that Swan will remove Paranavitana, but James Anderson’s ability to swing the ball also enhances the appeal of this occurring.
A £30 stake on a run out being responsible for the third Sri Lankan wicket would return £480. New customers can sign up here for a free £30 bet.