England welcome the West Indies to Lord's for the first Test in a three match series starting on Thursday. The odds are stacked against the tourists as they search for their first away series win in 17 years, and their first victory at Lord's since 1988.
England (2/5 To Win The Test)come into the game with a lot of positives surrounding their line-up. Jonny Bairstow (8/1 Top 1st Innings Bat) has been added to the squad or for the first time and is likely to make his debut at Lord's and a number of the batting line-up have been in strong form for their respective counties in recent weeks. Despite a difficult winter, losing four out of five tests, England still possess arguably the strongest fast-bowling attack in the world.
In their defence, the West Endies (10/1 To Win The Test) have played better than their results suggest. They lost 2-0 at home to Australia last month, and while the victory looked easy for the tourists, they were tested a number of times. There is the feeling that the side are beginning to work well together under the new captain Darren Sammy, and in Fidel Edwards (11/5 Top West Indies Bowler), Kemar Roach and Ravi Rampaul, they have a trio of seamers strong enough to test England's batsmen. If they can find another player or two to contribute runs in a fashion similar to that of Shivnarine Chanderpaul, they could well cause the hosts a problem or two.
The weather forecast for the week is generally dry and cloudy, with spots of rain on occasion (Draw 3/1). The weather this year has made life difficult for groundsman Mick Hunt but his Test pitches are almost always of the highest calibre, and the cloudy conditions should serve only to help England's bowling cause. The outcome of this test will likely rest on the strength in depth that England possess. However, should the West Indies find some form from their batsmen, it might not be as open and shut as it appears ahead of the first ball.