Reverse swing and spin mastery make England first Ashes test favourites

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Trent Bridge has earned a reputation as a results pitch down the years, with nine Tests played since one finished without a victor in 2002, but there are reasons to suspect that the track at the swinger’s Shangri-La may not be as decisive as it has been in the past.

The Trent Bridge pitch has historically proved a tricky place to bat, with the average score of batsmen in the last nine Tests a mere 26.84 runs per wicket. Swing bowlers have often made hay at the ground and both James Anderson and Stuart Broad have posted some great performances during that period.

England have been receiving plenty of insight into the nature of the pitch from Notts captain Chris Read and the word on the street suggests that the ball hasn’t been swinging as much for the county’s bowlers this term.

The last two County Championship matches played on the wicket have ended without resolution with a lofty 1,811 runs scored so larger run-totals than usual may be expected.

England may have scored more than the 365.5 runs that mark the betting line for their first innings total only once in their last six opening innings of Trent Bridge Tests, but that was in their most recent match at the ground and they can be backed at 5/6 to get over that total here, thanks to the more innocuous conditions.

Michael Clarke was arguably the only stand-out contributor for the tourists’ batting line-up during the recent Test series in India and a result they may find it harder to amass a big score than England.

With Clarke reportedly moving gingerly after his 124 against Worcestershire recently, the effects of his back injury have clearly not been consigned to history, so the Aussies’ most effective batsmen may not be able to cut loose as much as he might like.

Read has suggested that rather than an awful lot of swing, spin and reverse swing may become the most useful weapons and England arguably possess the greater exponents of both disciplines.

Graeme Swann is ranked some 16 places above top Aussie twirler Nathan Lyon in the ICC Test Championship Bowling Rankings. Meanwhile the hosts’ seamers were able to harness reverse swing when it eluded the visiting bowlers when the sides met during the recent ICC Champions Trophy at Edgbaston.

As a result, England have the better chance of gaining a victory at Trent Bridge and can be backed to do so at 4/5, although punters wary of England continuing a run of two drawn Ashes openers may prefer the 4/7 on the hosts being ahead after the first innings.

Furthermore, given England’s bowling superiority in the two manners mentioned above, backing James Anderson to take more wickets than the visitors’ James Pattinson and Graeme Swann to out strike Nathan Lyon at 5/4 and evens respectively could be a profitable ploy.

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

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