By his own standards, Alastair Cook had a poor summer with the bat but as they say form is temporary, class is permanent.
Despite his failures in England’s successful Ashes campaign, Australia know all about the Essex batsman’s prolific run scoring ability from his last trip Down Under, making him an intriguing 2/1 shot to top-score for the tourists in Oz.
As always, Cook’s side begin their campaign in Brisbane; the last time the skipper went out to bat at the Gabba he scored a quite sumptuous 235 not out to steer England to a draw in the 2010/2011 opener.
At the close of play on the second day of the second Test, Cook had broken his first record of the summer – his 135 not out combined with the 235 from Brisbane gave him 371 runs in 1,0022 minutes of play, an England record for runs scored and minutes at the crease without being dismissed.
The 27-year-old, who now has 25 Test centuries and 32 fifties to his name, went on to amass 766 runs over the course of the series – only the great Wally Hammond (905) has scored more runs for England in an Ashes series.
This summer Cook, along with the rest of England’s top-order, failed to score heavily or consistently – he only managed three half-centuries in total. The opener’s failure to convert big scores was unusual given his previous excellence in that department.
A player of Cook’s technique and class is sure to come good sooner or later though and with a £30 return from a £10 stake, backing the youngest man to reach 7,000 Test runs looks the safest option.
Elsewhere in the betting, Kevin Pietersen and Jonathon Trott are a respective 7/2 and 9/2 to top score for England but the South African born duo could suffer from Channel Nine’s decision not to install the Hot Spot technology.
Both had problems with Hot Spot in the summer but as batsmen who predominantly score through the leg-side, there is every chance that the infra-red technology could save them from a wrongful bat-pad LBW decision .
All odds and markets are correct at the time of publication.
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