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The Ashes 3rd Test Preview

The Ashes 3rd Test Preview

All our Ashes odds can be found here

This superb summer of cricket continues to serve up memorable moments with England and Australia battling it out for the Ashes, and if the second Test is anything to go by, we will see more battles before the series is completed and the destination of the coveted Urn is decided.

Australia lead the series 1-0 after winning the first Test at Edgbaston and holding out for a thrilling draw at Lord’s last week when the concussion to Steve Smith has left the former Aussie captain sitting out this week’s third Test at Headingley. Charlie Mullan picks out some of the bets available for the crucial third Test.

Regardless of who was playing for Australia this week, England knew they cannot afford to lose this week’s match. When news that Australia’s run-machine Steve Smith was ruled out of the Third Test, the mood in the England camp would have been boosted considerably. Smith has contributed 32.1 per cent of the 1,175 runs scored by the tourists and his absence increases the pressure on the other batsmen who have flattered to deceive in this series so far.

England ran out of time trying to take the final four wickets of Australia’s second innings after Joe Root’s declaration left Tim Paine’s side needing 267 runs for victory. The atmosphere at Headingley promises to be buzzing as it hosts an Ashes Test for the first time in 10 years and with Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow featuring on their home ground, the West Stand is sure to be in good voice.

While Root’s scores have dipped following the first Test when he scored a total of 85 runs to account for just 14 at Lord’s, Bairstow has got better. He followed up his 14 runs at Edgbaston with a total of 82 in the second Test last week. Both should relish the home comforts of playing in Leeds and while Root is 5/2 to score the most runs for England in the first innings, Bairstow is better value at 5/1.

With James Anderson again missing as he recovers from a calf injury,  Jofra Archer is 2/1 to be England’s top bowler in the first innings with Stuart Broad 9/4 to follow up his four wickets in the second Test. Broad will have David Warner in his sights once again having dismissed him three of the four times in the series already.

With Smith sidelined, Warner needs to find runs otherwise his team will be under even more pressure at Headingley. Warner is 3/1 to be Australia’s top batsman while Marnus Labuschagne, who was Test cricket’s first ever concussion substitution for Smith at Lord’s, is 4/1 to top score for his country after doing so in his first ever knock at this level in his side’s second innings at the home of cricket. Labuschagne recovered from his own blow to the head early on in that innings to suggest he can cope with anything that is thrown at him at 95mph.

Pat Cummins was Australia’s leading wicket-taker at Lord’s with three victims in each innings to take his tally for the series to 13, one more than his team-mate Nathan Lyon. Cummins dismissed Jason Roy and Joe Root in successive balls to reduce England to nine for two in their second innings at Lord’s before Ben Strokes rescued the hosts with his seventh Test century. Cummins is 2/1 to be Australia’s leading bowler in the first innings at Headingley with Lyon 7/2.

Sooner or later, one of the these sides will put on a decent partnership for the first wicket. In the eight innings so far, the highest opening partnership has been 22 between Rory Burns and Jason Roy in England’s first innings at Edgbaston. The average first wicket score so far in this series is 11.1 and with the bowlers enjoying early success, odds of 4/5 are available for the first wicket falling for less than 27.5 runs. If the batters can show better patience than they have in the first two Tests, then we should see our first opening partnership of 28 or more which is trading at 1/1.

With early wickets a feature of the series so far, don’t expect an explosive start by whichever team bats first. Three maiden overs have been bowled to start an innings two of which were bowled by Stuart Broad and the other by James Anderson to get the series under way. Australia have managed just one run in the first over they have faced while England, who have managed to pinch at least one run in the first over, have clocked up the other eight runs. With an average 1.1 runs scored from the first over, the odds of under 1.5 is worth considering at 1/1 with 4/5 available for over 1.5 runs scored from the first over of the third Test.

Of the 68 wickets to fall in the series so far, 70.5 per cent of the batsmen have been caught, with 19.1 per cent trapped leg before wicket with 10.2 per cent of dismissals seeing the batsman clean bowled. Odds of 2/5 are available for the first dismissed batsman being caught while being bowled is priced at 4/1. The first wicket of the series saw David Warner trapped lbw by Stuart Broad and that method of dismissal is trading at 5/1.

Best bets:

England to win @ 5/8

Jonny Bairstow top England 1st innings batsman @ 5/1

Jofra Archer top England 1st innings bowler @ 2/1

Pat Cummins top Australia 1st innings bowler @ 2/1

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