We haven’t got long to wait until the Ashes gets underway, but there’s a small matter of a bit of history this week when England face Ireland for the very first time in a Test match.
Fresh off the back of a World Cup win, England will hope the feel-good factor continues against the Aussies, and several fringe players will do their utmost to force their way into Ashes contention.
Our cricket betting expert previews the one-off Test and gives you the best bets to look out for at Lord’s.
Curran’s chance to shine
Sam Curran will feel a tad hard done by at missing out in England’s most recent Test XI in St Lucia.
The 21-year-old has always excelled when representing his country, averaging 32.42 with the bat from his nine matches with vital runs down the order, while averaging 34.20 with the ball.
He was the man of the series when England faced India earlier this year, and has shown some good County form to suggest he’s fully recovered from a hamstring injury to star for England at Lord’s this week.
Curran will be eager to impress the England selectors and he’s an attractive 7/2 to take the most wickets in the first innings.
England and Roy to pile on the runs
With this being England’s opening warm-up game ahead of the Ashes, the batting line-up will be keen to excel against an Ireland attack which is likely to be led by Boyd Rankin, who represented England in the ill-fated 5-0 Ashes whitewash back in 2013/14.
As well as this being a historical occasion for Ireland, Rankin could be putting his own name in the history books if selected.
The 35-year-old will become the first former England player to play against the country that handed him his Test debut since 1946, and despite his importance to the Irish bowling line-up, it’s difficult to see them causing the England batsman too many problems.
If England win the toss and bat first, you could see the runs pile up, and I fancy the chances of an England batsman to make a double century at 7/2.
The hosts’ problems with batting openers in the longest format of the game have been under heavy scrutiny since Alastair Cook’s retirement.
The selectors have now turned to one-day king Jason Roy in a bid to solve the issues, and though he has never been able to reproduce his white-ball form in this format in the past for his County side Surrey, he will look to grasp this opportunity with both hands.
Bet on Roy to score the most first innings runs at 11/4.