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Here are Guy Giles’ cricket tips for the first Test match at Old Trafford, starting on Wednesday.
Pakistan to win
England are understandably favourites to win this match, but there is not as much of a discrepancy between these sides as the prices suggest.
Pakistan have won the first Test on both of their last two tours of England, while England have lost the first match of their last five Test series – barring last summer’s one-off win against Ireland.
Dominic Sibley to score over 26.5 runs in the first innings
Sibley has so far proved himself at Test level, averaging 42.00 across nine matches with two centuries to his name.
He has passed this mark in nine of his 15 Test innings, including in eight of his last 10.
Joe Root to score over 33.5 runs in the first innings
Root found some form in the last innings of the West Indies series last week and is a nice bet to carry it into this Test match.
Prior to this summer, the England skipper’s last four first innings scores at Old Trafford read: 77, 254, 52 and 71.
He has passed this mark in seven of his last 11 innings against Pakistan overall.
Babar Azam to score over 29.5 runs in the first innings
Azam comes to England as the sixth-best batsman in the ICC Men’s Test rankings, and his form will be key if Pakistan are to build on their series draws in England in 2016 and 2018.
He has passed this mark in seven of his last 10 Test match innings, with that sequence including four 100s and two 50s. He also hit an unbeaten 68 on his only previous Test innings in England.
Top first-innings Pakistan bowler: Mohammad Abbas
Abbas is the kind of seam bowler who should flourish in England and has had plenty of success in this country before.
The 30-year-old took four wickets in the first innings of the first Test of Pakistan’s last tour to England, backing it up with another two in the first innings of the second.
He has taken nine wickets in his last three Tests overall.
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