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England will look to Cook to salvage number one ranking spot

| 19.10.2012

England must win at Lord’s to save the series and their number one ranking spot so will surely turn to vice-captain, Alastair Cook, in a bid to put some runs on the board.

Essex’s Cook can be backed at 4/1 to be England’s top run scorer and, as he is the only batsman in the squad for the third Test to have registered three figures against the Proteas this summer, these odds could prove a token of generosity from Ladbrokes.

The opener averages an impressive 51.33 in the middle at Lord’s, where he has ran out to bat through 22 innings and recorded a knock of 60 when he last faced the South African attack here.

The third Test of the series is one where Cook tends to perform well, also.

An average of 49.32 is bettered only by his record in second Tests and is a single run improvement on his career average.

His haul of five centuries and eight fifties sets him apart from his fellow joint-favourite top scorers, Andrew Strauss and Jonathon Trott.

The England captain – gearing up for his 100th Test – can match Cook in the triple-digit ranks but has only managed six half-centuries, whereas Trott is yet to register a score greater than 50 in the third match of any series.

An alternative to Cook could be youngster James Taylor, who is due for a promotion up the order in Kevin Pietersen’s absence.

Ladbrokes value the Nottinghamshire batsman at 8/1 to outperform his more experienced colleagues.

He looked accomplished on debut in the second Test against the South Africans, showing a maturity beyond his years with a knock of 34, sharing a 147-run partnership with Pietersen.

Taylor warmed up for that match with a knock of 163 for Notts in the County Championship so is in good form ahead of his MCC bow in a Three Lions cap.

England won’t mind which players weigh-in with the bat when the Test starts on Thursday but, if you’re looking to take advantage of Ladbrokes’ best prices offer, these two players look excellent value.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.



James Middleton