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Oval is perfect place for Swann to confirm he’s Ashes top dog

| 13.08.2013

Stuart Broad’s blistering blast with the ball to finish off the Aussies in this Ashes series will live long in the memory, but if you think anyone other than Graeme Swann will finish the series as top wicket-taker, then guess again.

Once England have soaked up the last puddles of champagne the series will reach its conclusion back in the capital at the Kia Oval and with hardly a drop of rain having touched the playing surface all summer, the stage is set for Swanny once more.

The hosts’ spin demon is 2/7 to maintain his lead in the top series wicket taker stakes – on 23 so far – having forged a lead of three over Aussie paceman Ryan Harris at reversed odds of 7/2, while seam trio Jimmy Anderson, Stuart Broad and Peter Siddle are all locked on 17 apiece and identically priced at 20/1.

Chester-le-Street unequivocally belonged to the quickies with Harris finishing the second innings on figures of 7-117 and Broad’s devastating spell earning him 6-50, though Swann still chipped in with two wickets in either innings. At the Oval we can expect Swann’s influence on the game to be far greater however.

Historically, Surrey’s home pitches are tailor made for spinners, with three of the four leading Test wicket takers of all time at the Oval being spinners, including the great left-arm leg spinner Derek Underwood.

Furthermore, Swann himself has always enjoyed himself at the Oval in an England shirt, having recorded the best average of any of the current crop of bowlers, while he’s second by only two in leading wicket-takers south of the Thames to Anderson.

Swann has taken one five-for against India in 2011 where he finished with best Oval figures of 6/106 and has averaged exactly six wickets over the last four Test matches he’s contested there for his country.

Going by this average it might take his nearest rival Harris to take 10 wickets in the match to overhaul him.

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

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Alex Fortune