England to take advantage of Aussie unrest in Ashes
Despite struggling to a series draw against New Zealand – a Test side ranked eighth in the world – England look on course to land an Ashes hat-trick for the first time since 1981.
England may be a long way from top form at present, but their ability to grind out results when not playing at their peak – they are now unbeaten in six Tests and have lost just three of their last 14 – could stand them in good stead come July.
The visiting Australians, however, appear to have gone out of their way to arrive in England in a state of disarray, a situation reflected by the current odds, which price England as the 4/9 series favourites and the Aussies as 4/1 outsiders.
Poor form, a series of injuries and in-fighting between the players and staff have led to a situation where vice-captain Shane Watson was forced to ponder his future, just five established batsmen have been offered central contracts and doubts remain over the impact seamers Patrick Cummins, Ryan Harris and Ben Hilfenhaus could have.
Watson, along with Mitchell Johnson, Usman Khawaja and James Pattinson, was dropped from the squad for the Third Test against India after refusing to take part in an exercise which asked the players to voice their ideas on how to improve the team.
The Queenslander has since been re-instated to the team, but coach Mickey Arthur’s insistence that he has “no regrets” over his decision hints that all is not well in the Australia camp.
Even if the visitors can cobble together some sort of team harmony before the summer, form indicates that Australia could struggle to overcome England.
The visitors have now lost five successive Tests on the road, including a four-match whitewash by India, and have tasted success just once in nine attempts against England as the away side.
With Australia not scheduled to play any Tests until the July 10th Ashes opener at Trent Bridge there is little opportunity for them to regroup ahead of the showpiece series making it difficult to see them successfully wrestling The Ashes from England’s grip.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.