Author Archives: James Pacheco

Sri Lanka v England 2nd ODI: Faith in Thisara, dough on Dananjaya

Starts Saturday 05:30

In the end, all we got from Wednesday’s game was 15 overs after England batted first. So whereas we’ll never know how Perera- either of them- would have fared if there had been a completed game, we still managed to accumulate a few morsels of knowledge about what may happen when the action gets underway again on Saturday.

The first thing we noticed was that Thisara Perera was chalked to come in at 6 rather than 7. That may seem like a somewhat trivial difference but actually…it isn’t. That could make all the difference between him having enough time at the crease to get to whatever score is there waiting to be beaten, or simply not having enough deliveries with which to do it. As a reminder: we know he can do it because he has the ability to score quicker than anyone else in the team; it’s the overs he’s out there for that we might be a bit concerned about.

So now to the strange bit. Despite being likely to bat a place higher than we all at first thought – there’s no reason why Sri Lanka should change the batting order at the same venue when no-one got a bat – he’s now a best price of 17.0 with Betfair Sportsbook rather than the 15.0 he was last time out. There’s absolutely no reason why we should jump ship on Thisara when he’s batting a position higher and a bigger price than he was three days ago.  So, we won’t.

And if you’re wondering why we’re bailing out of our other Perera- Kusal – it’s purely on price. He was 7.0 last time and is a best price of 5.5 this time. The value is gone.

The other thing that was noticeable was that England played the seamers well. Lasith Malinga, once just about the best limited overs fast bowler in the world was treated by England’s batters like a Sunday league trundler. He went for 7.4 runs an over. Age and injuries catch up with you in the end, Lasith.

Pradeep was considerably better and took a wicket- a genuine edge- and class player that he is, he deserves some respect.

We never got to see Thisara Perera, him again, bowl because he tends to bowl in the middle overs and at the death. But there’s nothing we don’t know about him already. He’ll bowl good lines and lengths and provide some decent variations but he’s one of those bowlers that you get yourself out to rather than him getting you out. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

But the other bowler we did see was spinner A. Dananjaya. His figures don’t look particularly impressive with 30 runs conceded from six overs. But that’s because he was hit for two sixes. All well and good but on another day a couple of batsmen miscue and are caught. Which by the way, is exactly what happened when Jason Roy went after him, misread the turn and was caught trying to clear the boundary.

And across those five overs he was menacing with a few swings and misses, plenty of respectful blocks and a few false shots as well. It should come as no surprise that he caused England problems and is likely to do so again, for two reasons. One: England play pace much better than seam.

Two: the wicket at Dambulla (the 2nd match is there as well) is a good one and with little or no assistance from the pitch, it may have to be cunning deviations and changes of pace that get batsmen out rather than the wicket itself.

Dananjaya is actually Sri Lanka’s second top wicket-taker over the past 12 months in this format.  The first is our old mucker Thisara Perera.  But there’s not much to choose between them in terms of price and our money is on England struggling with his spin rather than Thisara’s medium pace next time.


0.5pts Back Thisara Perera to be Sri Lanka Top Batsman @ 17.0 with Betfair Sportsbook

1pt Back Akila Dananjaya to be Sri Lanka Top Bowler @ 4.0 with Betfair Sportsbook/Ladbrokes


You can read more about all aspects of cricket betting including explanations on how to play different markets and reviews of the best Cricket sportsbooks at


Sri Lanka v England 1st ODI: A tale of two Pereras

Sri Lanka v England 1st ODI starts Wednesday 10:00

Match-winner market – Neither side appeals

England play Sri Lanka in the 1st ODI on Wednesday morning. The first point to make is that the prices on the match odds market are about right. England are around the 1.4 mark with just about everyone while Sri Lanka’s price is somewhere between 2.7 and 3.2, depending on who you’re betting with.

Let’s cut to the chase. England are a far better ODI side than Sri Lanka when it comes to batting and fielding, no doubt about that. Bowling: well if it’s really spinning then Sri Lanka may have the edge here and that’s where the hosts’ best chance may well lie: preparing a proper ‘bunsen’, picking at least three spinners and consistently bowling in the right areas. We’ll have to wait and see.

So England are very justified favourites but their record in Sri Lanka is awful. Six wins out of 21 there over the years. That’s a win in just 28% of their matches on Sri Lankan soil so all of a sudden we start to think twice about piling into a 1.4 shot. Not that we’d think about smashing into short prices, anyway.

But are Sri Lanka all of a sudden a value bet as big outsiders? Well, a lot of that damage in the past was done by Sri Lankan sides containing the likes of Muralitharan, Sangakarra, Jayawardene, Jayasuriya and Vaas. All now retired.

Their current ODI side doesn’t have a single player who would get anywhere near a World XI. Heck, only one or two of them would even get into the England side at the moment. So with a weak-looking side and an awful record over the past couple of years- 30 losses in their past 40 games and a run of 12 consecutive defeats in 2017 – they can’t be trusted, either.

I’m not going to take a punt on the England top batsman market, either. The Top 4 in the batting are available at almost identical odds, have very similar records and if you’re going to play this market, you might as well just pick one at random and hope for the best because it’s hard to see where the value lies.

Sri Lanka Top Batsman – Perera and…Perera.

But it’s a different story on the top Sri Lanka batsman market, where as the title of this preview suggests, it’s about two Pereras.

So bad was their performance in the recent Asia Cup that it’s fair to say no-one is in form. But in Kusal Perera Sri Lanka have a player who ticks the main boxes for a top batsman in ODIs. He has experience under his belt (80 ODIs), has played England plenty of times in the past, bats in the Top 4, has solid long-term numbers and for those who consider this to be an actual advantage, is left handed.

But sometimes it’s not so much about numbers as it is mindset.

This is a man who will attack you from ball one and that could be a key advantage over other Sri Lankan players who might look to bat more sedately. You see, England are ODI bullies. When they’re batting they like to go after bowlers. When they’re bowling, they don’t like batsmen showing no fear against them. Look at how they fell apart when Virat Kohli was hitting them to all parts in the summer.

But ultimately it is of course about price. Is Kusal Perera value at the 4.5 that the likes of Bet365 are laying him at? No, but given what we said about him so far, he is at odds of 7.0, which is what Ladbrokes and Coral are offering on him. I can only assume they think he will bat lower than four (unlikely) or that it’s just a mistake in terms of how they priced him up. After all, with the long-serving linchpin Angelo Matthews currently out of the side and skipper Dinesh Chandimal just coming back from injury, he may not have much to beat.

But it may be worth having a saver on the other Perera, Thisara. This is a hard-hitting all-rounder who particularly likes to punish spin and who we expect to see batting at 6, 7 or 8.

If Sri Lanka bat first he’s unlikely to have much of a chance because someone from the top order should get to at least 70. But Sri Lankan batting collapses are as frequent these days as England ones in the 90s and a more likely scenario where he’d be in the game would be this: if England post a big score, Sri Lanka have to go for it from early on, lose wickets up front by being too aggressive and he comes in at 6 or 7 with a top score or 30-odd to beat.

Given what we’ve seen of them in the last year or so, it’s not that unlikely. Given what we’ve seen of Perera over the years, he may just need 30 or so balls to get to 50, particularly if he’s up against the spinners. At odds of 15, it’s worth having him onside as a saver.


Recommended Bets

1pt Back Kusal Perera to be Top Sri Lanka Batsman @ 7.0 with Ladbrokes/Coral.

0.5pts Back Thisara Perera to be Top Sri Lanka Batsman @ 15.0 with Ladbrokes/Paddypower/Betfair Sportsbook


You can read more about all aspects of cricket betting including explanations on how to play different markets and reviews of the best Cricket sportsbooks at



T20 Finals Day Preview – Somerset look the bet


T20 Finals Day is one of the big highlights of the British sporting calendar these days and it’s a load of fun to watch. But given the nature of the business here at Daily Punt, the question is: so what’s the punt? Jamie Pacheco of Betting Maestro has found three value selections ahead of the big day.


Worcestershire can defy the odds

It’s an interesting quirk of this year’s edition that Worcestershire are the only county not to have made an appearance in Finals Day before. But there are good reasons to think they won’t fall at the first hurdle as underdogs to Lancashire in the first semi-final.

They topped the North Group with nine wins and are surely the outsiders of the four purely based on the lack of star names and experienced players in the squad. Well, the first part isn’t strictly true. In Moeen Ali they’ll have a man in form who will probably be the best all-rounder on show on the day. And in Wayne Parnell (more on him in a bit) they’ve got a man who at 29 has been at World Cups for South Africa, IPLs and plenty of other big stages.

As for the inexperience, maybe that’s not a bad thing. In this format you can get away with just going out and expressing yourself without fear and it may just suit them to be the side no-one fancies.  They beat Lancashire away in the Group Stages (their home was a wash-out) and it may just be a case that if they can get Jos Buttler out cheaply, they’ll be on top there and then.

Lancashire’s success was built on the quality of their spinners so it will negate them somewhat that this is the first semi-final, meaning the wicket won’t take as much turn.Continue Reading

England v India Second Test Betting: Hosts have to be opposed at HQ

England are 1-0 up in the 5-match Test Series. That was after beating India at Edgbaston by 31 runs. The Second Test starts at Lord's on Thursday and there are good reasons to think England, the 2.0 favourites, must be opposed. Here they are:


  1. The First Test was close


When you’ve played for three and a half days, a win by 31 runs isn’t much. It proves what many thought before a ball was bowled: these are two very closely-matched sides. Had just the one Indian batsman bar Virat Kohli buckled down in the fourth innings, they would have won. The prices don’t reflect the gulf in difference between the two sides.


  1. Stokes absence will hurt England


As is the case with all champion all-rounders, they inevitably seem to always contribute with either bat or ball. Ian Botham or say Imran Khan were the same. For good measure, Stokes often makes a game-changing contribution as a fielder as well.


At Edgbaston it was with the ball, with Stokes taking six wickets in the game and perhaps most crucially of all, the wicket of Kohli in the fourth innings.


Except of course, there is no Stokes this time. This isn’t the time or place to discuss ‘that night’ in Bristol. Suffice to say he’s missing because he’ll be in court.


By all accounts Chris Woakes or Moeen Ali will play in his absence. Fine. Two perfectly good and experienced Test all-rounders. But the former has little cricket under his belt of late and the latter had been out-of-form in Tests for a while before finally being dropped in the Winter. Are we really meant to believe either of those two can go out at Lord's and do what Stokes does?


  1. India likely to learn from selection mistakes


India made two selection mistakes ahead of that Edgbaston Test. The first was to pick the dashing KL Rahul at Number 3 ahead of Chet Pujara. If it was an ODI or a T20 it would be a no contest: Rahul every time. But this is Test cricket. It’s not pretty 20s that win it, it’s long, grinding, patient, disciplined innings that win Tests. Admittedly Pujara had been somewhat out of form for Yorkshire in the build-up to the 1st Test. But the simple fact he’s been playing County cricket all summer in England and averages over 50 in Tests should have meant he should have played anyway. The selectors are unlikely to make the same mistakes again. Pujara will almost certainly play ahead of Rahul and India will be stronger for it.

They’ll also be better for playing left arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav. Not only will it probably turn more at Lord's than at Edgbaston anyway but even if it doesn’t, it’s always a good idea to play two spinners against England when possible. Proof of that was off-spinner Ravi Ashwin’s seven wickets in the first match. And what Yadav may lack in experience compared to Ashwin, he has in mystery balls. England won’t want Yadav to play and that tells you all you need to know.

Assuming India make these two changes, they’ll be far stronger.


  1. Kohli could be even better


A few people are suggesting England’s bowlers might start to have worked out Kohli. Really? Interesting, because I saw him score 200 effortless, ‘almost’ chanceless runs in the First Test. He got out playing an attacking shot in the first innings when batting with number 11 and made one mistake in the Second innings.

If anything, after those two excellent knocks he’s likely to be even better this time round after having had a look at England’s bowlers in English conditions, rather than the other way round where it’s England bowlers who are meant to have learnt something.

Kohli could easily score far more than 200 runs at Lord's and then the hosts will really be up against it.


  1. England don’t like it at Lord's


Ah, Lord’s. Home of cricket. HQ. England’s fortress. A big boost. Right? Wrong.

It may be all those things but historically, England don’t like playing at Lord’s. Consider this: in 134 Test matches played there, they won 53, lost 32 and drew 49. That’s a win/loss rate of just 1.656. Australia’s win rate at Lord’s is 2.42!

Contrast that with Edgbaston. In 51 games in Birmingham England have won 28, lost eight and drawn 15. That’s a win rate of 3.5 and over double what it is at Lord’s. So considering these historical stats, it’s perhaps hardly surprising that England won at Edgbaston.

Why is that? Hard to say. At Edgbaston the ball does swing a bit more than at Lord’s but that can’t be the full story.

A less ‘technical’ explanation could be this. At Lord’s the members are polite and well-behaved. They don’t exactly spur their team on. It’s a very different story at Edgbaston where a raucous crowd, often beer-fuelled (!) get behind their team and give them a boost when they need it. And of course the more that happens over the years, the more England win there and the more they believe they can win there next time.

The reasons aren’t as important as the bare stats. And they say England struggle at Lord’s.



England must be opposed at Lord’s. There may be some rain around on Saturday (at last), which brings the draw into the equation and makes a lay of England at 2.1 on Betfair the conservative option. The bolder option and arguably the better value one is to back India at a best price of 3.15, also on Betfair.


James Pacheco is a betting writer and tipster. You can find explanations on how to play all manner of football and cricket betting markets with tried and tested winning strategies for them, plus lots of other insightful betting content at

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