The forthcoming third Ashes Test at Old Trafford is pivotal in every sense, but punters believe England are ready to clinch the urn now, having backed them in from 10/11 to 8/11 to win the match in the space of 24 hours.
An unassailable 3-0 lead will ensure the Ashes remain in English hands and given the overwhelmingly one-sided flavour of the second Test at Lord’s, it’s difficult to envisage any other outcome at present.
The nerve-jangling affair which was the first Test at Trent Bridge now seems to have been false advertising for a classic sequence of tests to come.
As the series moved to the home of cricket for the second Test, all the fears about Australia’s paper-thin squad which had preoccupied the Ashes build-up – briefly brushed over by an audacious showing with the willow from 19-year-old Ashton Agar on Test debut in Nottingham – came home to roost.
The tourists batting display in the first innings in particular showed a level of ineptitude thankfully not witnessed in many visiting Australian outfits in recent memory.
Despite a few decent knocks from the like of Philip Hughes, adding 38 to his first innings 84, in their subsequent tour game against Sussex, this is a batting order woefully short of the required quality.
Aussie batting greats such as the Waugh brothers would have been wincing more than most at the calamity that unfolded at Lord’s, not helped by a blunted bowling attack to match.
Peter Siddle cannot be relied upon to do all Australia’s wicket-taking with the new ball each time he runs out for his country.
Graeme Swann’s impressive haul of nine wickets at Lord’s, only highlights further Australia’s dearth in bowling options, with Agar coming up well short in the spinning department.
One thing is for sure, if England come up trumps at Old Trafford and claim the burnt bails yet again, their current odds of 3/1 to secure the 5-0 win overall will shrink still further.
The time to back the whitewash is now.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.