Australia an unthreatening favourite for Ashes second Test

The phenomenal four-day win England secured in Cardiff’s first Ashes Test may have been enough to swing the odds for the series in their favour, but Ladbrokes expect the Australians to make a comeback when the series gets back underway at Lord’s.

A side that won 5-0 on their home turf and were as short as 4/11 to win on these shores now find themselves out to 7/4 after being completely outplayed by Alastair Cook’s hosts in south Wales.

Nevertheless, Michael Clarke’s outfit remain the 11/8 favourites to win the second Test, with England not far behind at 7/4 and the draw a 5/2 possibility.

England’s coach, Trevor Bayliss, voiced his own concerns about the Australian bite back immediately after the SWALEC Stadium win, although in reality Australia are far less well equipped to win the game now than they were before the series started.

Mitchell Starc, who took seven wickets in Wales, has a fitness cloud hanging over him after playing half the match with an ankle problem.

Shane Watson, out LBW twice in the game to take his career tally to 29 dismissals by that method, is under extreme pressure to be dropped, while the spotlight also shines on 37-year-old Brad Haddin, who dropped first innings centurion Joe Root second ball.

Conversely, and expectedly after such a comprehensive performance, England are the embodiment of serenity having named an unchanged squad to take to Lord’s.

Their XI is likely to remain untouched too. Gary Ballance and Ian Bell – the two most strained members of the side leading into the series – both contributed with the bat, leaving little reason to change the dynamic.

A shred of hope for Clarke to cling to comes in the form of his nation’s record at the London ground, where Australia have only lost twice in their last 20 outings against England.

But, in the delightful malleability of stats, those two defeats have both come in the past two Ashes series…

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.