Punters caught out at Bristol

Saturdays historic victory for Bangladesh over England at Bristol looks to have caught more than just Andrew Strauss and the England team out. It would appear that it was not just England that took it for granted that all they had to do was turn up to win yesterday (which is what I believe happened).

During the England innings I was keepeing an eye on the odds on Betfair as I got the feeling that an upset might occur during the remainder of this series, a conclusion I arrived at after a very casual looking performance from England at Trent Bridge on Thursday.

Unsurprisingley while cruising with Strauss and Kieswetter at the crease the odds on England tumbled all the way down to 1/33 and even 1/50, punters obviously thought it was all over as a contest at 49/0 and needing only 237 to win.

That was when it all went wrong, as the graph below shows £2000 was traded on England at 1.02 (1/50), this must have been just before the fall of Strauss, not a massive amount in the world of Betfair.

Further analysis shows that nearly £39,000 was traded at 1.03 (1/33), and 5 figure amounts all the way up to 1.06. Then follows a run of six figure sums from 1.07 to 1.11, before a massive £1M was gambled at 1.12.

These are extraordinary amounts of money at short odds. Not all of it will be people just backing England to win, a lot of it will be people who backed England at higher prices, laying there bets off for a profit, assuming England would win.

But as is the rule in gambling, for every winner there is a loser. And there must have been some massive loses recorded yesterday.

The thing that struck me was the amount of time it took before the market turned in favour of Bangladesh, even during the brief innings from Michael Yardy and Luke Wright, England were still heavy odds on favourite to win, probably down to the fact that Trott was still batting.

For anyone brave enough to attempt to win their money back at Edgbaston tomorrow, England are a best price of 1/7 with Totesport to win and avoid the ignominy of losing a series to Bangladesh. It also dosen’t look like the rain will intervene and leave the series tied at 1-1.

Bangladesh are 6/1 with VC Bet and Sky Bet to cause another upset and win the match and series.

Test Cricket is back!!

The wait is over, summer is here, and test cricket is back on in England. No more headlines about spot betting (also known as match fixing, to irresponsible press members) and rows about the rotation of key players, lets just talk about what happens on the pitch.

It may be a low key test series against Bangladesh, but at least it is being played in better conditions than last years early May artic test series against West Indies, a series which ended like this one might well do.

Lets be honest about it though, it may well be disrespectful to Bangladesh, and may also be to Pakistan later in the summer, but these two series are going to be used to warm up and prepare a squad to go to Australia for the Ashes later this year.

The selectors look to be using this match to check out Eoin Morgan’s test credentials. Morgan has a 1st class average of around 36, nothing flattering, but the selectors have obviously seen something they think can be worked with at test level during Morgan’s time spent in the ODI squads.

I was a bit surprised that they went with the six batsmen today, the only reason I can guess, is so they can see how Morgan does. Otherwise, surely it would have been better to give Ajmal Shahzad his chance, Shahzad has been filling the Adil Rashid role for a few months now, and we don’t want too see a repeat of that for much longer.

He deserves to be given a game, carrying drinks and net bowling is not enough. He has gained some invaluable experience of being around the squad of late, but he surely must be given a game soon, otherwise it will start to become counterproductive.

England will probably be looking to create a pool of fast bowlers in the long run. The fact that Stuart Broad has been left out, shows that the selectors are prepared to share the bowling responsibilities around more. Taking that into account, Shahzad must surely have to come in for the 2nd test.

With the prospect of England reverting back to the 5 batsmen policy later in the summer, Jonathon Trott did his chances of not being the fall guy no harm today. It might not be against the greatest bowling attack, but his 175 not out will have no doubt reminded the selectors of his powers of application and concentration, the sort of thing needed for an Ashes series, as he showed last year at the Oval.

There is a double hundred there for the taking for Trott, it is far harder to get dropped after a score of that magnitude.

All-in-all we got the predicatable day we expected, Bangladesh played well in small spells, but on the whole they look out of their depth. They don’t travel well, and it is showing. It’s hard to see anything more than a comfortable England win already, the 1st innings total should be enough to bat Bangladesh out of the game, and only really rain should prevent the obvious from happening.