Fighter Stokes no barrier as Australia seek another whitewash
England just cannot stand the heat at present and the atmosphere is set to boil over at Melbourne – back Australia to take full advantage at 8/11.
In the summer’s Ashes series, the Fourth Test was played out in front of 20,000 people each day at Durham.
On Boxing Day, there will be 100,000 people crammed into the MCG and officials expect to see a world record crowd; all tickets for the opening day were sold before November.
And that was before Australia ran riot.
Bet on Australia to win Fourth Test at 8/11
They have been by far the better team as they have assembled an unassailable 3-0 lead in the series and we know that the Aussies are ruthless when they are on a roll.
Australia have whitewashed 14 countries since the turn of the century – including England in 2006/7 – and their captain Michael Clarke said this week: “We’d love to win 5-0 in this series.”
Although England made 353 in their fourth innings run chase, Ben Stokes was the only man to emerge with any credit from the Third Test.
The Durham all-rounder made 120 in just his second Test, and said: “If you’re in a fight you want to win it.”
Bet on Ben Stokes to top-score in 1st innings at 6/1
In a team which – at this point at least – lacks fight as much as confidence, he looks the best bet to excel in the Melbourne cauldron.
Back him at 6/1 to be England’s top scorer in the first innings, as well as at 9/10 in a match bet with Australian counterpart Steven Smith.
The latter may have compiled his own century in Perth but he hasn’t had a good series with bat or ball.
Whilst he may take confidence from his first Ashes century, the figures suggest that the 24-year-old still has plenty to learn; his average is currently at 35 and before his big knock, his scores in this series were 31, 0, 6, 23.