England are Heading in the right direction
After a fairly bleak winter England finally have reasons to be optimistic about the summer ahead.
When the Three Lions lost the Test series against the West Indies in the Caribbean few would've been looking forward to the Ashes campaign commencing in July, but after a thrilling comeback to win the ODI series and two comfortable Test victories back home, England fans can be excused about being a bit more confident in their teams' ability.
Of course Andrew Strauss' team have plenty more games to play before 'the big one', starting on Thursday at Headingley Carnegie against Chris Gayle's West Indies side, where England have won eight of their last twelve one-day internationals, with one abandoned.
As ever it seems in West Yorkshire, both teams will have to battle the conditions as well as their respective opponents as rain is expected (the managers of the surrounding pubs and bars will certainly hope so!) But, in Tim Bresnan and Ryan Sidebottom they have two players, if called upon, with the experience of fighting these conditions, with both players having turned out on numerous occasions at Headingley.
Sidebottom in particular (with eight wickets in his last Test match on this ground - against West Indies) should be able to swing the ball to devastating effect.
With their recent run of victories over the Windies, England go into the game as 4/6 favourites for the match - it looks justified given their current record in this part of the country. The visitors are 6/5 shots to emerge victorious and give themselves a platform for the rest of the three match series, which also takes in Bristol and Birmingham.
Kevin Pietersen leads the betting for the top England batsman at odds of 3/1, and to be fair the last time England played in Leeds he guided the Three Lions to victory with an unbeaten 90 from just 82 deliveries. Current form suggests he might not be so prolific this time around though and Ravi Bopara (4/1 to be top England run scorer) might be a better shout to carry his Test scoring into the limited overs game.
Runs have been in short supply for the West Indies in recent games of either Test or ODI with nobody really excelling with the bat. Only Shiv Chanderpaul (3/1 to be the top West Indies batsman) and Ramnaresh Sarwan (7/2) managing a score of three figures in the last eight matches.
Here at William Hill we will, of course, be covering all three ODI's live and will offer a wealth of in-running betting opportunities with our betlive service including; over-by-over runs, method of next dismissal, next man out and much more.