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England’s 10-wicket defeat the Gabba was not the odds-defying start to the Ashes optimistic supporters had dreamed of.
The Aussies have got their noses in front but England fans of a glass half full disposition can take some comfort from the performance ahead of Saturday’s second Test in Adelaide.
Cricketing odds expert Iain Spragg previews this one…
Four of England’s top five hit half-centuries in Brisbane compared to a solitary 50 in the fixture four years earlier.
Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad proved there’s life in the old dogs yet with five first innings wickets between.
Unlike in 2013 the tourists made the Baggy Greens bat twice to secure victory and took the game to a fifth day and, had it not been for Steve Smith’s magical unbeaten century, the course of the match could have been dramatically different.
Hope also springs eternal for the tourists because it’s a day-night Test in Adelaide.
England’s attack found the pink ball very much to their liking in August when they thumped the West Indies by an innings and 209 runs at Edgbaston.
South Australia is a long way from the Midlands but if the tourists are going to generate any significant swing Down Under this winter, Adelaide is the most likely venue.
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) November 28, 2017
England have spoken about the need for big centuries from the top order Down Under.
Skipper Joe Root is the favourite among the tourists to oblige with a three-figure score in either innings at 13/4 while Alastair Cook is 4/1 to hit his fifth Test ton against the Aussies despite his struggles in the first Test.
James Vince fell tantalisingly short of a maiden century at the Gabba when he was run out for 83 and is 13/2 to make amends in Adelaide.
Smith’s sublime century in the first Test means he’s inevitably the shortest priced batsman on either side to reach three figures at 2/1.
Cameron Bancroft’s impressive unbeaten 82 on debut in the second innings at the Gabba sees him shorten to 4/1 while fellow opener David Warner is 47/20 to repeat the ton he smashed in Adelaide against England four years ago.
The pink ball factor makes the betting on the best bowler fascinating reading.
Mitchell Starc was the most prolific performer with the ball in Brisbane with six wickets and is by a whisker the favourite at 5/2 to take five wickets in either innings in Adelaide.
Hot on his heels are Nathan Lyon and Anderson who are both 3/1. Next up is Josh Hazlewood at 17/5 followed by Pat Cummins at 15/4 and Stuart Broad at 17/4. Chris Woakes is close behind at 9/2 but Jake Ball and Moeen Ali are both rated as no more than supporting members of the cast at 6/1 each.
England’s last Adelaide adventure in 2013 ended in a 218-run defeat for the tourists.
The Aussies kicked off with an imposing 570 for nine declared in their first innings to which England could only muster 172 in reply.
For a Test match, there was an unusually high total of 21 sixes despatched to the stands in Adelaide four years ago. The Aussies hit 13 of them and they’re favourites to once again clear the rope more frequently at 11/20.
England’s batting looks significantly less explosive without the muscular presence of Ben Stokes and they’re back at 47/20 to have the most aerial success.