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Nic Ladds 11th Feb 2009 - 20:15

Windies can blow away sorry England

After England's second innings capitulation in the first Test it will be intriguing to see how they respond in the second at odds of 11/5.

England were heavy favourites for the first Test but after being dismissed for a paltry 51, the West Indies will be brimming with confidence and are slight outsiders at 5/2 in the betting with the draw at even money.

People may look at this and decide the Windies are a cracking price given England's history in Antigua.

It was in Coolidge in November they were bowled out for 99 in the Stanford $20million match.

The two matches they have played at the Sir Viv Richards Stadium in North Sound ended in defeat, namely to Sri Lanka and Australia in the World Cup.

The most noticeable thing was something we've not seen with the West Indies in some time.

The carnival atmosphere is starting to return. After years in the doldrums getting whipped by all comers, they are finally emerging from the shadow of Brian Lara's retirement and starting to look a side who can win games.

This can only spell trouble for England who's confidence is shattered and will be despairing about what to do to turn things around.

On the plus side this pitch should be full of runs which means even England should be able to build a respectable total.

This will of course apply to the home side also. Ramnaresh Sarwan and Chris Gayle batted beautifully in the first Test and will both be confident of making big totals again with the pair both available at odds of 3/1 to top score for the Windies.

Shivnarine Chanderpaul didn't shine last time but he is so consistent a big total is always possible which is why he remains 11/4 favourite to be top Windies batsman.

It could be worth keeping an eye on Lendl Simmons who at 5/1 to top score could be a good bet as he got a double century in the warm up game.

England will more than likely do themselves a favour and drop the hopelessly out of form Ian Bell for Owais Shah who will be keen to make an impression and is 5/1 to top score for England, however should Bell start he is available at odds of 6/1 to turn things around.

Kevin Pietersen is predictably favourite to be top England batsman at 2/1 having got an excellent 97 in the first innings before crumbling like the rest in the second.

Cook and Strauss both at 4/1 do not look like decent wagers and Andrew Flintoff, despite not being currently the most obvious choice appeal the most due to the big price of 9/1.

A decent 43 in the first innings before getting half of England's runs in the second with 24, Freddie will be called upon once again to help England at their lowest ebb and he has the personality, mental strength and the talent to do so making the 9/1 a lot more appealing than shorter prices on some of his counterparts.

If you do fancy a bet on the top England batsman then William Hill have an offer whereby if you place anywhere for £5 to £25 to whoever you fancy for England and we'll match your bet so you can have a punt on West Indian top batsman.

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In another batting themed bet, West Indies to have the highest opening partnership at odds of 11/10 appeals a lot more than the 4/6 about England.

Bowling wise, the West Indies seem to have ironed out a lot of their wayward bowling as Jerome Taylor bowled beautifully in the first Test taking eight wickets and is 11/4 to be top bowler.

Suileman Benn at 4/1 for top bowler also took eight wickets and put Monty Panesar to shame in the spinning stakes. Monty took just the one wicket and is 5/1 to be top England bowler.

The suggestion from last time of Stuart Broad to be top England bowler paid off and another good display should be on the cards. Broad's place is not vulnerable to James Anderson unlike Harmison and Sidebottom and he can be backed at 5/1 to be top bowler again with Flintoff 3/1 favourite.

This will be a real personality test for England and maybe they will comfort themselves with the fact they have a good record of winning after defeat.

The draw is the hot favourite due to the free-scoring nature of the pitch but the West Indies will smell blood straight from the off and at the prices it could pay to get on the home side to shatter what is left of England's ever diminishing confidence.

West Indies - 5/2
West Indies highest opening partnership - 11/10
Andrew Flintoff top England batsman - 9/1

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