Sri Lanka are on the ropes after a drubbing in the first Test - can England ram home the advantage?
Prior to the England bowlers running riot, it was Hales and Bairstow who lead the way with two classy knocks. Hales continues his Bipolar approach to international cricket, digging in and fighting for his 206-ball 86, whilst riding his luck at times. Bairstow, on the other hand, moved through the gears fluently, scoring 140 at an impressive strike rate of 76.50, without doubt the match-winning innings. Transferring his early season form for county side Yorkshire, Bairstow made it look easy and hardly put a foot wrong before getting himself out trying to up the ante with the tail.
There were a few glimmers of hope for the tourists though. Take Bairstow and Hales out of the equation and the England scorecard would read 72 all out, thanks to a dream debut for young fast bowler Shanaka. Cook, Compton, Root, Stokes and Ali all failed to make any impression on the scorecard, along with debutant Vince, whilst Sri Lankan number 3 Mendis did post an impressive half century before getting a beauty from Anderson.
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Despite this, it would be difficult to see anything other than an England win in the second Test. Sri Lanka’s main weapon, left arm spinner Herat, is not going to be giving a turning deck in Durham at this time of the year. However, there is no value in backing an England win, so the run-scoring and wicket-taking markets are going to be our focus.
James Vince is a high-class operator in the county game and has been in great touch domestically. Don’t be put off by his lack of international experience, he has the ability to be a run machine at this level and is great value shout at 7/1 to be England’s top batsman in the match.
Staying with England, Steven Finn recently played at Durham, for Middlesex, and was very unlucky not to return better figures than 3 for 64. His international strike-rate is phenomenal so back him to be England's leading wicket-taker at 4/1.
Sri Lankan captain Angelo Matthews had a very quiet first Test with the bat, but let’s not forget he averages over 50 in the Test arena and he scored runs in England in 2014, so back him to be bounce back this week and be top Sri Lankan run-scorer at best price 7/2.