Ahead of the first Test match of the Ashes at Trent Bridge, relatively inexperienced pacemen James Pattinson and Mitchell Starc head the Australia series wicket taker betting at 5/2 and 7/2 respectively. However, with the tourists’ attack hardly set in stone ahead of the opener, it may be worth looking further down the betting.
Peter Siddle has played 41 Tests for Australia and can be regarded as the only Aussie bowler who – barring a major form hiccup – can be relied upon to start every Test in the series – as such he must enter calculations.
Having played in two Ashes series already – including one in England – he also boasts an experience advantage over Pattinson and Starc and could be value to upstage the tyros in the wicket-taking stakes at 4/1.
The two-series veteran may have been on the losing side on both occasions, but he’ll have reason to look back on those defeats with some personal satisfaction, having rated his country’s second highest wicket taker on both occasions.
In the 2009 series – the last one in England – he was particularly effective, adding 20 scalps to his collection, including a five-wicket haul in the first innings at Headingley. His superior experience of the prevailing conditions will be a boon to his chances of being his country’s wicket leader in 2013.
Of the market-leading pair, it looks to be Pattinson who has the greater chance of making an impact in the eyes of former England opener Marcus Trescothick, who spoke of the rest of the Australian attack as “following up behind” the right-arm medium quick’s lead when the tourists played against Somerset.
Nonetheless, no member of an attack that got smashed for 320 runs by a side that have won just one of their nine County Championship matches this term can regard his position as safe and a potential double-digit dark horse to top the Aussie wicket charts could be Jackson Bird.
Bird has donned the baggy green on just two occasions, with both caps coming against Sri Lanka in Australia around the turn of the year. He struck 11 times across the four innings, with the highlight being a four wicket haul in the first innings at Sydney which came for the cost of just 2.08 runs an over.
Injury has curtailed his involvement since, but the Sydney right-armer proved himself in good nick in his first match since February, delivering a performance of metronomic reliability for the Aussie A side against Gloucestershire in late June.
Capable of landing the ball in the same spot with great consistency alongside a subtle sprinkling of swing to up the ante, his style has been compared to that of great England batting bane Glenn McGrath.
With new coach Darren Lehmann mulling over the use of a potential five-man attack, there’s plenty of chance that he’ll get a chance to shine and he looks a choice outsider in the top Aussie wicket market at 12/1.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.