New Zealand shorten for third Test as Pietersen ruled out
New Zealand have been cut to 11/2 to win the deciding third Test with England following the news that Kevin Pietersen will miss the Auckland showdown because of injury.
Pietersen will be out for between six and eight weeks with the knee injury that has been troubling him through much of the New Zealand tour.
Given that Jonny Bairstow is the only other batsman in the England squad, he will come in for the final Test, as he did in place of Pietersen in another decider against South Africa last year.
On that occasion, Bairstow stepped up to the challenge with scores of 95 and 54 at Lord’s and if he can contribute something similar at Eden Park, England may well win the series 1-0.
England are 8/13 to win the third Test, but it is worth noting that the pitch is again likely to offer little to the bowlers and New Zealand have won three of their last four Tests on the ground.
Draws have materialised from the first two Tests and this may be popular with punters again at 9/4.
The England top runscorer market may also generate some added interest now and Bairstow is installed at 8/1.
Where he will bat remains unknown, although it is likely that Ian Bell will move up the batting order from five to four, leaving Bairstow and Joe Root to come in at five and six.
Bell is therefore an interesting proposition at 9/2, but the unhelpful nature of the Kiwi pitches thus far may give preference to the openers as they are guaranteed the most time in the middle if retaining their wicket.
Captain Alastair Cook is favourite at 3/1 to be England’s top runscorer, with Nick Compton at 9/2 as he bids to register centuries in three successive Tests.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.