How the Bookies See it:
|Series Correct Score||
- Australia’s most recent Test series was in Bangladesh and ended in a 1-1 draw, after they suffered their first ever Test defeat against the Tigers in the opening match in Dhaka. Darren Lehmann’s side also lost 2-1 in India earlier in the year, having come off a disappointing home season this time last year. They did hammer Pakistan 3-0, but had previously lost 2-1 to a visiting South Africa side.
- The story of England’s year has been one of inconsistency, although they managed to beat South Africa 3-1 and West Indies 2-1 during Joe Root’s first summer as Test captain. England also came out on top the last time they faced Australia, winning 3-2 in England in 2015. However, the last time England toured Australia four years ago they lost 5-0 in what became known as ‘the Pomnishambles’.
The last time England toured Australia in 2013/14, just about everything that could go wrong did go wrong. England fans could be forgiven for feeling a familiar sense of trepidation ahead of the opening Test in Brisbane, and the bookies make the home team firm favourites to reclaim the tiny urn.
The tourists’ deficiencies are easy to see; they have three unproven batsmen in the top five, the fast-bowling resources have been stretched by injuries, there is still no world-class spinner in the squad, and Ben Stokes is absent as he waits on the outcome of a police inquiry into an incident outside a Bristol nightclub. The warm-up matches have also been a bit of a farce, with slow pitches prepared and inexperienced players selected in an apparently deliberate effort to give England as little meaningful practice as possible.
Australia, by contrast, look ready to go. Fast bowlers Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc are all back to full fitness and have overs under their belt in the domestic Sheffield Shield competition. Starc, in particular, will be hoping to replicate the terror that fellow left-armer Mitchell Johnson unleashed four years ago.
However, Australia still have weak links which England could exploit. The batting line-up is too reliant on Steven Smith and David Warner, nobody has nailed down the wicket-keeping position and the team’s recent form has been underwhelming. England have too many top-class players, in Alastair Cook, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Moeen Ali, James Anderson and Stuart Broad, to be underestimated. With Chris Woakes also showing good form in the early part of the tour, the feeling is that both sides have stronger bowling attacks than batting orders.
As such, there might not even be a draw in the series if the weather holds, and the best value for punters could be to look at the correct score. Australia will be particularly hard to stop on the bouncy tracks of Brisbane and Perth, and look the marginally stronger side, so a wager on the hosts to triumph 3-2 at odds of around 7/1 could reap decent rewards.
Sports.net Top Tip
Australia to win series 3-2
*Please note, odds may fluctuate.