For the second time in this Ashes series England had Australia rocking early in their first innings, but for a second time they let them off the hook on day one of the third Test at the WACA.
Steve Smith’s unbeaten 100 and Brad Haddin’s fourth consecutive half-century helped propel the hosts to 326/6 at stumps in sweltering conditions in Western Australia.
As a result of another resilient display with the bat from the Australians – who had been teetering on 143/5 just after the lunch break – the home side’s odds for a series-clinching victory at the WACA have shrunk to 2/5.
Meanwhile, a frustrated England bowling unit, who had done so well to make early inroads on an even strip, have seen their odds for the win rocket out to 6/1, while the draw is a 7/2 shot with Ladbrokes after day one.
Considering the way the series has gone and the fact that England have only won a single Test match at the Ashes in 12 attempts, an Aussie win is looking increasingly likely.
Much will depend on whether or not England can restrict the Aussies to under 400 runs in the morning session, where over 420.5 Australia runs can be backed at 5/6, as Alastair Cook’s side have failed to surpass the 400-mark in any Ashes innings in 2013.
Ominously for England, once the stubborn figure of Haddin was removed and his vital 124-run sixth-wicket partnership with Smith was broken, Mitchell Johnson then came out and resisted the new ball with ease.
Already the bane of England’s Ashes campaign Down Under with the ball in his left mit, the Pommie destroyer added insult to injury by extravagantly swishing his way to 39 off just 60 balls, smashing six fours in the process.
England need early wickets and have it all to do when they resume on day two.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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