When asked his prediction for the 2015 Ashes in England, Sky Sports’ new cricket pundit Ricky Pointing duly exclaimed ‘3-0’. The former Australian captain could have been spot on it transpires, if he had backed the hosts instead.
Heading to the second Test at Lord’s, Alastair Cook’s men have already vanquished their series underdog status thanks to an imperious 169-run win in Cardiff.
Seemingly inspired by their new Australian coach Trevor Bayliss, promises of expressive batting were proven not to be empty, while England’s bowling unit stuck to their task with far too much skill and precision for Michael Clarke’s rattled tourists to handle.
In truth not even the most optimistic of England fans would have predicted such a convincing win, especially when 43/3 in overcast conditions on the first morning, but suddenly the whitewashed of two years ago look far more like whitewashers.
The only logical way for punters to go as the fight for the urn now swings to Lord’s, is to back successive England victories at 7/4.
On the evidence from Wales, the Australians rate too skinny as 11/8 shots to bounce back and with Lord’s pitches producing 10 decisive results in the last 12 Tests staged in north West London, 5/2 on the draw has muted appeal at best.
Australia being rocked by the loss of wicket keeper-batsman Brad Haddin is also a negative factor for Clarke, while Shane Watson’s inclusion is in serious doubt.
Having failed to fix a flaw which exposes him far too easily to being trapped LBW, Watson’s Ashes Tour and possibly his Test career is now under threat.
Admittedly England do have a doubt over Moeen Ali’s fitness, but even if the Worcestershire spinner is ruled out, then Bayliss has a tailor-made replacement in the form of fellow all-rounder Adil Rashid.
England’s charge towards a third-straight Test victory over the Aussies at the home of cricket looks almost certainly to be led once again by their best batsman.
Man of the match from Cardiff thanks to his 194-run input and sprinkling of vital late wickets, Joe Root has passed 50 six times at Lord’s, scoring 98 and 84 across two innings against New Zealand earlier this summer.
The Yorkshire right-hander averages an incredible 85.88 at the venue with the willow, knocking off two of his best three Test scores there.
It’s 11/4 Root top scores in England’s first innings again and 9/1 he finishes as MOM in successive Tests.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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