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Rupert Wyman 26th May 2010 - 15:19

Summer is finally here, but Bangladesh will be no Test for England

England begin their summer Tests with a two-match series against Bangladesh with the first at Lord's on Thursday. England are on something as a high following their World Twenty20 triumph in the West Indies but they will have to quickly re-focus on the longest form of the game.

This shouldn't be an issue though as Bangladesh are weak opposition as proved by England's 1/10 to win the first Test.

In addition only four of the starting XI from the World Twenty20 final are expected to feature at the home of cricket. One of that quartet is Eoin Morgan, as a result of his fantastic form for his adopted country in the shorter forms of the games the Irishman should make his Test debut at Lord's.

However, his selection is something of a surprise as he has hardly set the County Championship alight. His career average in the four-day game is just 36.

Morgan gets his chance though as the selectors have decided to rest successful Twenty20 skipper Paul Collingwood, as they have half an eye on this winter's Ashes tour Down Under.

Also being given a rest is all-rounder Stuart Broad. Broad was expected to fill Andrew Flintoff's big boots as the man to give the side the perfect balance.

The Nottinghamshire man has not quite done that so far as despite a bright start in Test cricket he has fallen away a little but nevertheless he is quite rightly viewed as an integral part of the Test side.

In Broad's all-rounder place will be Tim Bresnan. The Yorkshireman is another that has done very well in the shorter forms of the game.

Bresnan also did well on the winter tour to Bangladesh as he averaged 91 with the bat, albeit from one innings, and 32.28 with the ball in testing conditions.

Another man who gives great balance to the side is one of Wisden's cricketers of the year, as well as England's, Graeme Swann.

The amount by which the spinner has developed in the last 12 months is outstanding and consequently he is now ranked as the world's fourth best all-rounder in Tests.

Swann led the bowlers in Bangaladesh with 16 wickets at an average of 25.25, despite this though James Anderson looks the bet in the top bowler market for the first Test.

Anderson never played a game in the World Twenty20 but he is undoubtedly the leader of the Test attack and with the wickets traditionally seamer friendly this early on in the summer then at 2/1 he is the bet to take the most wickets.

Alongside Anderson will be Middlesex's tall strike bowler Steve Finn. He is another who performed well in Bangladesh and the selectors must be hoping that at 6ft 8in he can be a real asset in the Ashes.

At the other end of the line-up Andrew Strauss returns to captain the side after not taking part in the World Twenty20 due to his retirement from the shortest form of the game. Before that Strauss was also rested for the tour of Bangladesh.

England hardly missed their captain though as in Bangladesh they were ably led by Alastair Cook as they wrapped up a two-Test series win.

Much of the same can be expected this time around. Another 2-0 series victory is 1/4 and the only thing that can realistically save Bangladesh is the normal early season showers.

In the Caribbean, Kevin Pietersen was arguably in the form of his life and so looks a fair bet at 9/4 to score the most runs for England in the first innings.

Conversely though Cook has not been in good form this season for Essex averaging just 28 runs therefore I would leave the vice captain well alone at 4/1.

However, I think that the best bet in the top batsman market is Strauss at 7/2. The England captain averages 62 at his home ground in Tests and should open the innings and lead by example yet again.

Whichever batsman gets the most runs is difficult though as in theory they should all enjoy themselves at the start of the summer in the sun facing the worst Test side in the world cricket.



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