England rue dropped catches on even first day at Adelaide Oval

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England’s courage in selecting their spin twins, Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann, along with debutant all-rounder Ben Stokes wasn’t rewarded when Alastair Cook called incorrectly at the toss in the second Test at Adelaide and was asked to bowl first.

Expecting a flat, docile pitch that would take spin later on, the tourist’s plan was to bat first and score plenty before letting their tweaking twosome do the bulk of the bowling.

As it turned out, Australia had first use of the deck and will be somewhat miffed about their first day return of 273-5, especially as three men reached fifty but failed to kick on. As a result the play finished with both sides neck and neck.

The advantage should have been with Cook’s men come the close, but a trio of spilled catches will leave the England camp frustrated over a chance to really peg the Aussies back. Michael Carberry’s grounding of a simple chance from Brad Haddin off Panesar provided a particularly energy-sapping end to proceedings.

The in-play betting market has Australia as favourites for the victory at 5/4 by virtue of the fact that they are batting first and are only five wickets down with four days remaining.

However, England are by no means out of the race to level the series and their 7/2 price to win shouldn’t be ignored.

A couple of quick wickets in the morning session will see those odds shrink quicker than the kids in that famous movie, so it’s worth siding with them now before it’s too late.

The 13/8 currently available on the Ashes holders in the draw no bet market is a slightly less plump, more fence-sitting option, but considering half of the last six matches at the Adelaide Oval have been drawn isn’t the silliest of punts.

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

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.