Alastair Cook’s injury-hit England still too strong for Australia
England’s tour of Australia has started with injury worry after injury worry but it’s time to draw the blinds, take your number out of the phonebook, and change your name; it’s time to back England to only narrowly win the Ashes.
Don’t worry, I’m not sinking as low as to suggest that the Aussies will win the series, but there won’t be much between the sides and the draw is also a realistic proposition at 9/2.
Bet on England to win 3-2 at 10/1
However the better bet is England to win 3-2 at 10/1.
Drawn matches used to be much more common in Australia however the run-rate of modern day Test cricket is much higher than it used to be, and neither team’s batting line-up suggests that they’ll occupy the crease for days on end.
Once Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott are out, the emphasis is on attack rather than defence, and it’s worth remembering that the hosts need to win the series so they are unlikely to produce any lifeless pitches.
Bet on England to win series at 11/10
Patriotic punters have collected in recent years, with England winning four of the last five series, including a deserved 3-1 win in Australia in 2010/11.
That was the first England series win down under since 1986/7 and the team are 11/10 to follow up again.
The Three Lions are seriously struggling with injuries at present, with both Kevin Pietersen and Matt Prior currently undergoing treatment.
The dominating England side of 2006/7 has slowly faded into the background and what we are lucky to have now, is just a very good England side who are not as destructive as a few years ago.
Bet on Warner to be top home batsman at 9/2
England’s attack is also not as electric as it has been, and injuries to the bowlers rather than the batsmen would arguably be more debilitating; the thought of going into battle without James Anderson sends shivers down the spine of every England fan.
Anderson has 329 Test wickets, including 22 in the last Ashes series, and he is the key to England doing well this winter.
Similarly, the controversial David Warner could be the crucial player for Australia.
The flamboyant opener has been in good form for New South Wales and appears to be preparing for this series in a more professional manner; he can forget the ignominy of the Joe Root incident and is 9/2.
Meanwhile Cook, who was the standout player during England’s last trip to Australia, is a standout 11/4 here to put on a repeat performance.