Ian Botham may believe England can beat Australia 10-0 across the next two Ashes series that both take place in 2013, but there is a real possibility that this statement could be proved wrong in the first Test at Trent Bridge.
England are understandably odds-on favourites at 10/11 to take a 1-0 series lead at Trent Bridge, given their home advantage, better preparation and previous Ashes form.
The Ashes urn has gone the way of England in three of their last four tussles with Australia, but for the opener this time, Alastair Cook’s team simply have to be opposed.
Given that an Australia victory in the first Test and the draw are both available at the same price of 11/4, punters are arguably better served backing both of these outcomes, knowing that a profit will be made if either is the correct result.
Getting out of the blocks quickly is not something that can be associated with England in recent Ashes series. In fact, they have not won any of the last seven Ashes openers since moving into a 1-0 lead in 1997 with a nine-wicket triumph at Edgbaston.
Australia have won four of the last seven with the other three drawn, which includes each of the last two.
Looking back a touch further to the last 12 Ashes renewals, England have won the opening Test just once in this time.
Meanwhile, England’s first-Test record in any matches of late does not make the most inspired reading, as since the start of 2012, they have lost four of their seven openers and won just two, against West Indies and New Zealand.
Both of these nations are ranked outside of the top five in the Test rankings, while England have failed to beat any of the top-five nations they have faced in this period – South Africa, India or Pakistan.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.