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England Ashes win price too good for punters to ignore

The bullish overconfidence of Michael Clarke ahead of the Ashes series is hardly surprising, but the Australian captain and his team have little form in the book to back up their big noises.

Clarke feigned knowledge of England’s Xl for the first test at The Gabba in Brisbane and stuck England skipper Alastair Cook with some thinly-veiled criticisms of his captaincy at a media conference in Sydney.

Aussie coach Darren ‘Boff’ Lehmann has also been stirring the pot in recent weeks by following up his call for home fans to send England’s Stuart Broad home crying by criticising number three batsman Jonathan Trott’s technique.

While it is true that Australia will start the series with a settled side for the first time under Clarke and that they’ve been in decent One-Day form of late, the Baggy Green have not won a test match in nine attempts since January 2nd against Sri Lanka.

With that in mind, the 11/10 odds about Cook lifting the Ashes as a series-winning captain for the second time in six months come the end of the final test  – which takes place the day after New Year’s Day in Sydney – look very appealing.

If anything England have strengthened since August, with Michael Carberry taking over the number two batsman spot from Joe Root, who should feel under less pressure at number six than when opening with Cook.

Croydon native Carberry – who’s life was threatened by a blood clot only three years ago – was called into the squad after scoring his maiden ODI 50 against Australia over the summer.

The 33-year-old scored an incredible 153 against Australia A in Hobart earlier this month, which indicates what Carberry could be capable of on Aussie pitches.

Wicket keeper Matt Prior looks set to win his fitness battle ahead of the first test and the home side will not relish facing Ian Bell again, after the number five scored three centuries against them in England.

With Trott and Kevin Pietersen fit and raring to go and Cook able to call upon an attack that rivals any in the world, England are certainly overpriced to win the series and should be backed accordingly.