Eng v Aus 5th ODI: Clarke injury could swing series for hosts

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Ahead of England’s crucial series-decider in Southampton, the home side’s chances of clinching a win have been boosted by the news Australia skipper Michael Clarke is a doubt for the crunch match.

Reports coming out of the Aussie camp are saying that their influential skipper Clarke will face a late fitness test due to the recurrence of a back injury, ahead of the final ODI at the Rose Bowl.

After a battling win at Cardiff inspired by the big-hitting Jos Buttler, which gave the hosts’ parity in the series, this potentially huge setback for the Aussies adds attraction to England’s odds of 11/10 to claim victory.

Even if Clarke is selected, his batting is almost certainly going to be restricted, diminishing the possibility of the skipper racking up another match-winning century, as he did in the first completed ODI of this rain-plagued series.

Added to this, the tourists will also be without first-choice opener Shaun Marsh, who misses out with a hamstring injury, while Test opener Phil Hughes is expected to get the nod.

With two scores in the 80s already in this series, the 11/2 on George Bailey chipping in with Australia’s highest knock of this decider now looks a really decent punt given the potential disruption to their top order.

Much like England’s Buttler, Bailey is an aggressive batsman, who can quickly take the game away from the opposition by getting on top of the bowling, as he threatened to do in Cardiff with 87 off just 91 balls, which included three sixes.

Meanwhile, Steven Finn, who picked up another pair in Wales is decent value at 11/4 to be England’s top wicket-taker, though James Tredwell’s 3/53 in finishing off the tale also make the spinner a tempter at 7/2.

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

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Christian Crowther

Give Christian a sport with anything remotely spherical in it and he’ll happily while away the hours watching it on the box. However, he’d much prefer writing about, playing or betting on golf, football, cricket, tennis, snooker.... you get the picture.