The Oval - 11th-15th August 2016
The final Test of the English summer offers England a chance to secure the number 1 spot in the ICC Test rankings, and Pakistan an opportunity at redeeming themselves after an undignified batting collapse at Edgbaston.
After winning the toss last time out, Pakistan bowled England out for less than 300, then secured a first innings lead of 103 runs, thanks mainly to a 181-run second wicket stand between Sami Aslam and Azar Ali. This good work was undone, however, by a lack of willingness to attack in the third innings, and England were allowed to declare on 445/6. Having set 343 runs to win in 84 overs, the hosts secured the victory in the 79th over after an impressive display of reverse swing bowling.
Historically, The Oval has been a venue that provides plenty of assistance to spinners, and with England opting for the same XI that won the last Test, could miss the leg spin option that Adil Rasheed would provide. Pakistan are likely to stick with Aslam at the top of the order, after an untroubled 80-odd in the first Test before being run out by Azar Ali. Wahab Rias could be pushing for a recall here, with both him and Mohammed Amir picking up 5-for in their last visit in 2010 and helping Pakistan win their only test of the tour. With reverse swing likely to play a big part in this game, the winner could be decided on which batting unit handles this best. On the evidence so far this series, I have to fancy England to do this, but the starting price of 1.67 is too skinny to offer any real value on them, and so in-play opportunities are the play here.
After an impressive Test in Birmingham, Sami Aslam looks well set to cause the England bowlers a headache. His technique looks extremely well suited to playing in English conditions, playing the ball late under his eyes and rarely pushing at anything outside off stump. Ladbrokes have currently enhanced his price for top Pakistan batsman from 4/1 to 5/1, which looks great value, and his run line is 25.5, which looks a little low to me.
Trading Notes: Lay the draw, decent forecast for five days, so this shouldn't be shorter than Pakistan. Look for opportunities to shift green onto England.
Back Sami Aslam for top Pakistan batsman at 6 with Ladbrokes
Back Sami Aslam to score over 25.5 runs at 1.83 with Ladbrokes