Man of the series Cook puts fifth Test in England’s favour

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Alastair Cook had a lot to prove to many critics when he flew to Australia at the end of November, but boy has he cemented his place as a future England captain.

His knock of 189 has taken him to 766 runs for the series, leaving him 208 runs clear of any other batsman in the series and promptly leading to the betting market for top series batsman to be suspended.

Thanks to Cook and a tremendous support act from Ian Bell who managed his maiden Ashes century, England now have a lead of 208 runs over the Australians and have been slashed to 4/11 from 4/6 to win the fifth Test.

Australia are out to 33/1 to win this Test match and the Aussies only hope of saving some pride is by batting out a draw when they finally manage to take the final three wickets needed.

The draw, priced at 2/1, has looked the more likely result all Test match until stumps last night.

Matt Prior’s 54 from 59 balls meant England raced into a 200-run lead last night and considering Australia’s woeful batting form throughout this series, the England win is now the favoured result.

Should Prior continue in the same vein on the morning of the fourth day, his captain Andrew Strauss will be hoping his tail-enders can put on some quick runs and the 5/6 available for England to score over 560.5 runs looks worth taking.

Should England take a lead of 300 into Australia’s final batting innings, they have the bowling power to take out Australia without having to bat again and a first series victory in Australia for 24 years should be secured.

England are now 1/500 to win the series with the series draw available at 33/1.

A £10 stake on Tim Bresnan being out LBW would return £60. New customers can sign up here for a free £10 bet.

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Robbie Morris

Robbie studied sports journalism at the University of Gloucestershire, an establishment chosen for its proximity to Cheltenham racecourse, where he was a season ticket holder. Upon graduation, Robbie was a contributor to GolfPunk, a national magazine aimed at ridding golf of its traditionalist image, before joining the news.ladbrokes team.