Joe Root may have been hogging the headlines lately, but Ian Bell has once again been England’s Mr Dependable during the first two Ashes Tests this summer.
The 31-year-old is 9/2 to be England’s top first innings runscorer in the third Test at Old Trafford – a strong price for a man who boasts an Ashes-high run average of 79.25
Bell hit 109 in the second innings at Trent Bridge, and followed that up with another 109 in the opening innings at Lord’s before a solid knock of 74 in his second spell with the bat.
The Warwickshire man also has an excellent international record at the Manchester venue, notching up two centuries and a 97 in England’s last four Tests there.
Kevin Pietersen is 4/1 to be England’s top runscorer, but continued doubts over his calf injury may tempt many to look elsewhere, and neither Root nor Trott boast Bell’s pedigree at the Old Trafford crease.
Captain Alastair Cook does have some fond memories here however and can be backed at 4/1.
He hasn’t excelled with the bat yet in this series, aside from a half century in the second Test in Nottingham, but he did pick up his second England (ton) in just his seventh Test appearance at Old Trafford during Pakistan’s tour of 2006.
A year later the Essex player scored 109 against the West Indies at the (Manchester) venue, before Cardiff won out in the battle to host Test matches.
Root is 4/1 having proved his ability with his mesmerising second innings show at Lord’s and makes his debut for England at Old Trafford.
As if his 180 runs weren’t enough to put England in the driving seat, the 22-year-old claimed two wickets with the ball at a crucial spell to firmly end Australia hopes of salvaging a draw.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing