From bar brawls to the sacking of coach Mickey Arthur, Australia’s Ashes preparation has been far from straight forward. Add to that a poor showing in the ICC Champions Trophy, albeit in the shorter form of the game, and it is hard to envisage anything other than an English Ashes triumph this summer.
With the hosts as short as 4/11, it may be worth taking a look at the Top England Series Wicket-Taker market in order to find some value. And there is certainly one Lancastrian that any Aussie who played in the last Ashes series will not be looking forward to facing again.
James Anderson took 24 wickets Down Under in the 2010/11 series and is available at a stand-out 2/1 with Ladbrokes to claim the most scalps this time around.
Having recently become only the fourth English bowler to claim 300 Test wickets, ‘The King of Swing’ is in sublime form claiming 33 wickets in his last seven Tests. With previous Ashes experience under his belt he looks a cracking bet to terrorise the tourists once again.
His main danger in this market is likely to come from Graeme Swann. Like Anderson, the Nottinghamshire man has been taking wickets for fun recently, including a ten wicket haul against New Zealand in May.
However, it seems that the Australians are more susceptible to pace bowling, with just 14% of their wickets in the last Ashes series being claimed by spin.
In addition, the right arm bowler has had his injury problems this season, with a recurring elbow problem keeping him out of action for a period of time, so nagging doubts regarding his fitness will always be present.
With the spinner priced up at 5/2, he looks too short a price compared to Anderson, who is sure to be the main focal point of the England bowling attack. Therefore the man from Burnley is the preferred selection to send the most Aussie batsman back to the hutch.
All odds and markets correct as of the date of publishing