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Nic Ladds 6th Mar 2009 - 12:17

England the clowns at West Indies carnival

England come in to this Test as 15/8 favourites in the betting and they will be desperate to justify this price to avoid a humiliating series defeat.

Everyone thought this would be the Test series that got England back on their feet and back in to contention in preparation for the Ashes but they have become nothing short of a joke with a disply of poor performances and controversy.

West Indies have not beaten any of the proper Test nations in the last 15 series' they've played and scalping England would highlight the frailties running through the Three Lions side.

The Windies are available at 5/2 and there is no doubt they will have their backers as the draw may be a little short at odds of 6/5.

The Queens Park Oval in Trinidad has a habit of playing to bowlers' strengths and allowing results as opposed to constant draws with only one draw in the last 14 Tests there.

Another interesting statistic to note is that the last three Tests have been won by the side bowling first as perhaps due to the nature of the pitch some unexpected surprises can greet the team batting first.

Steve Harmison has bowled well here before who took 6-61 in 2004 and despite his erratic form could get his place in the side back with Andrew Flintoff out. Harmy can be backed at 4/1 to be top England bowler.

Graeme Swann has been excellent this series, really staking his claim for a regular place in the side but may be a little short at 5/2 for top bowler and the swing of James Anderson could be called on more this time and he can be backed at 3/1.

Should Harmison not start, Amjad Khan would most likely make his debut and he has the ability to swing it both ways and it would be interesting to see him unsettle the West Indies top order and he is 5/1 to make a dream debut and be top England bowler.

For the West Indies, Jerome Taylor at 15/8 for top bowler could destroy the England batting line up if bowling like he did in the first Test but he has not shown the same form since then.

For those fancying a bet on this market a better bet could be Daren Powell, who's medium pace should get the ball moving a lot and is a nice price at 5/1.

In the top run scorer market, it is worth noting that openers have a poor record here so it could pay to look at little further down the order.

Kevin Pietersen at 5/2 will have his backers and despite the record of openers there is no denying Andrew Strauss and Alistair Cook have been in decent nick and are both 4/1.

Paul Collingwood could be the man at a healthy 7/1 though as he has the attributes to knuckle down and churn out a solid innings in tough conditions.

For the home side, no one should be put off backing Ramnaresh Sarwan to have another stunning innings at 11/4 as he could not be in better form.

Shivnarine Chanderpaul knows this track well and has managed two fifties in his last four innings here so could be an option at odds of 3/1.

At a big price of 14/1 Dinesh Ramdin could give backers a decent run for their money as he will bat further down the order and managed an excellent 166 last time, albeit on a much sounder batting surface.

After the horrific events in Pakistan earlier this week it would be fantastic to have a really competitive, close game that ends in a result to show the world that cricket still has that ability to entertain and bring joy to many rather than being overshadowed by doom and tragedy.

At the prices though it is West Indies that are the bet. England's desperation to win could have a negative affect on their chances and although the home side only need the draw, they would love nothing more than to cement a convincing series victory in front of their home crowd.

West Indies - 5/2
Daren Powell top W.Indies bowler - 5/1

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