England crumble again as Australia charge towards an Ashes whitewash
An Australia whitewash is just 1/25 after England’s batsmen once again neglected to use their heads or their hearts in Sydney.
The visitors were all out for 155, with only Ben Stokes once again emerging with any credit, before Australia reached 140/4 at stumps; a lead of 311.
The 5-0 scoreline was a scant-considered 66/1 shot before the series started, but the Aussies have dominated these five games in no uncertain fashion.
The tone for day two of the fifth and final Test was set in the very first over of the day with the visitors resuming their innings on 8 for one.
Bet on Australia to win the Fifth Test at 1/25
Captain Alastair Cook mis-read a ball from Ryan Harris and left a straight one which was heading for his off-stump.
Cook asked night-watchman Jimmy Anderson whether it was worth a review, but the bowler’s shake of the head was as emphatic as England’s defeat this winter.
More wickets quickly followed, with Anderson emerging with more credit than recognised batsmen Ian Bell and Kevin Pietersen.
The latter once again threw his wicket away with a silly shot, attempting to drive a ball on the up which was no threat to his stumps.
The Surrey man may have top-scored for England in this Ashes series but he will need to bat like Superman if he is to help his team rescue a win (10/1) or a draw (50/1).
Bet on Cook to become England’s all-time leading run-scorer in 2014 at 3/1
Pietersen is 3/1 to become England’s all-time leading run-scorer in 2014, the same price as Cook.
Both need over 700 runs to achieve that feat, and Cook looks the more likely despite his current lack of form.
The move to bring Gary Ballance, Scott Borthwick and Boyd Rankin into the side for this Test suggests that the selectors are keen to start afresh.
Pietersen, whilst undoubtedly a world-class batsman when on-song, has continually gifted his wicket during this series and Andy Flower (or whoever is in that position) is much more likely to build a team around his young Captain Cook.
Bet on the next dismissal to be a catch at 4/7
Whilst cricket fans in England continue to ponder why they bother to stay up late to watch this humiliating series, they may find some solace in a winning wager.
Australia are 140/4, some 311 runs to the good, and there is no pressure on them at all.
As a result, Chris Rogers (73 no) and George Bailey (20 no) should feel free to play their shots.
Three of the four Aussie wickets to fall in the second innings have been via catches, and with Anderson swinging the ball, an edge is most likely.
Seventeen of the 24 wickets in the match have been catches and the 4/7 about the next dismissal being by the same method can bring a little relief to hardy Three Lions fans.