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Back Smith to triumph again as Australia’s Ashes victory looms

| 15.12.2013

England are now 33/1 for victory in the Third Test after enduring another disappointing day in the Australian sunshine.

The forecast is anything but bright for Alastair Cook’s men as they are now trailing by 369 runs, with Australia still retaining seven wickets in their second innings.

David Warner’s 112 was the killer blow in a series which the home side have totally dominated and it will require an England-like batting collapse from Australia’s lower order if anything other than a home win is to be considered.

The Aussies are 1/12 to win the series here in Perth and will need just 50 more runs to ensure that England will need to break records to win the Test.

West Indies scored 418 in 2003 to record the highest successful fourth-innings run chase.

Meanwhile in The Ashes, the record is England’s 332 but that was back in 1928 and the highest successful run chase in recent times is the Mark Butcher–inspired 315 total at Headingley in 2001.

That victory was achieved when the series had already been lost and this series is surely heading the same way for England.

Bet on Shane Watson to be next man out at 5/6

The weather in Perth shows no signs of helping the visitors reach an unlikely draw at 7/1 and England just cannot bat for long periods at the moment.

However they did show a hint of backbone in the first innings with Cook and Michael Carberry both starting well and nullifying the threat of Mitchell Johnson.

Cook’s innings was gritty and hard-working, as the clearly out-of-form opener showed the sort of determination needed to try and save the series.

However once he, and Carberry had fallen, yet again the England batting line-up failed to deliver.

Joe Root’s dismissal may have been controversial but it was a poor shot once again from Kevin Pietersen which summed up day two.

England still had the opportunity to pressure the home side on day three but Cook’s side crumpled once more.

They lost their last six wickets for 61 and were bowled out for 251 before lunch.

The visitors then lost Stuart Broad for the day as he was taken to hospital for x-rays on a foot injury and Warner took full advantage, smashing 112 from just 140 balls before falling to Graeme Swann.

Bet on Australia to win the third Test at 1/12

At the close of play Shane Watson was nicely set on 29 and, with Steven Smith by his side and an in-form Brad Haddin still to come, there is no chance of a reprieve for England.

However punters wanting to get involved should consider backing Watson to be the next man out at 5/6.

Watson, who only averages 35 despite having 3000 Test runs to his name, has fared better at the WACA.

He had 262 runs in three Test matches in Perth prior to this match at an average of 43.66 but fell cheaply in the first innings for just 18.

With no pressure and a sizeable lead, he should play freely in the morning and looks the likelier of the two batsmen at the crease to play a loose shot.

Meanwhile Smith, who crafted 111 in the first innings in a patient and controlled manner, looks less likely to throw away his wicket; back him to last longer than Watson.



Nic Doggett