Coral’s five stars for best England Ashes series batsman accolade
With the 2015 Ashes, ever nearing, Coral writers provide cricket punters with top tips for the five-match series. We start off with the top England series batsman market.
The hosts are unfancied at 7/2 to reclaim the urn from Australia (4/11 odds-on favourite to win), but can be quietly confident of making it a fourth straight victory on home turf against the Baggy Greens.
Gary Ballance – 11/2
With a Test average of 52.19 from his first 23 innings for England, Zimbabwe-born Ballance is a rising star in the game.
The 25-year-old already has hundreds under his name against India (twice), Sri Lanka and most recently in the series with West Indies, who he also got scores of 77 and an unbeaten 81 against too.
Although he only managed a total of 36 runs from his four innings against New Zealand, the disciplined Yorkshire batter will certainly be one that the Aussies will be wary about.
Alastair Cook – 3/1
On paper, captain Cook is England’s leading Test runscorer (exactly 9000) and century maker (27), but it is fair to say he’s been less prolific over the past couple of years.
However, after recently getting his first two hundreds since 2013, against West Indies and then New Zealand, it seems that the Essex opener is back in-form, with four other 50s from those two series’ too.
Cook will be hoping to replicate his record-breaking form in 2010/11 Ashes, when he finished as top series batter with an astonishing 766 runs at an average of 127.66, while gaining three centuries along the way. He is a more enticing 5/1 to get the most runs of the series again.
Adam Lyth – 9/2
Yorkshire’s Lyth looks almost certain to partner Cook at the top of the order, after impressing in his debut series for England by hitting a hundred at home ground Headingley.
Whitby-born Lyth scored the most runs of the 2014 County Championship campaign, so is a decent outsider to deliver on the biggest international stage too.
Joe Root – 11/4 favourite
Another Yorkshireman makes the list, and this time it just so happens to be in-form Root, who is now up to number six in the Test batting rankings.
The newly appointed vice-captain seemingly has no limit to his ability as he continues his dramatic rise in the sport. He already has six centuries from his 49 innings, at an average of 54.11, and is Coral’s favourite to be best England batsman of the upcoming Ashes series.
Ben Stokes – 9/1
Although Stokes has featured in just 11 Test matches, he already has two centuries to his name and is fast becoming a key player for England, and has even been touted as the ‘new Andrew Flintoff’.
The Durham all-rounder recently hit a terrific hundred against the nation of his birth, New Zealand, and is a decent outsider to inspire England to victory by being top batsman for his side.
Betting tip – Joe Root is top series batsman at 9/2