Michael Clarke’s persistent back injury has ruled him out of Australia’s opening ICC Champions Trophy clash against England and this will come as a monumental blow to their chances at Edgbaston.
The Aussies are ranked as 11/10 outsiders in the wake of the hosts’ 8/11 and, without their captain and star player, it’s difficult to envisage how they’ll usurp the odds.
Without him they were recently castled for a pitiful 65 in a warm up match with an Indian side who have probably never been so thankful for batting first.
In one of the worst run-chases in the history of international cricket, Adam Voges and Phil Hughes were the only batsmen to hit double figures and, with England’s bowling unit in fine fettle, their prospects remain dim.
Inevitably, both failed to top 25 runs and the price of 5/6 that says the pair’s totals fail to cross this boundary once more represent tempting punts.
However, an interesting area where a profit could be made would be backing Hughes to outscore England’s Joe Root with 2.5 runs tagged on to the Australian’s score.
It pays out at 5/6 but, across Australia’s last five ODIs, he’s recorded an average of 39.75, despite not batting for one of these innings. Root’s average is .15 worse off than his counterpart’s in this match bet, but he has had the benefit of an extra innings at the crease in this period and hasn’t managed a score as high as Hughes either.
The proverbial icing on the so-called cake, however, comes in the form of Root’s score being subject to a negative handicap of 2.5 runs, presenting the Aussie number three with an extra advantage that he may not require.
Technically, the Australians come into this clash in better form, despite their crushing warm up defeat. They’ve won six on the spin when it’s actually mattered, all without Clarke, whereas England were comfortably bettered in their recent series hosting New Zealand.
The return of Stuart Broad from injury in game three of the aforementioned series coincided with the Three Lions first win and the in-form quick is sure to be instrumental here. A price of 11/8 says he’ll pick up two wickets or more.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date