This Monday we have done away without three free tips special to focus on the Ashes. The historic cricket match starts on Wednesday and England are the tourists this year. Most visits to the southern hemisphere have ended in embarrassment. But England go this year with a new captain in Joe Hart, Exciting Ashes virgins and experience in all the right places.
There has been controversy leading up to the matches. Both Ben Stokes and Alex Hales have taken themselves out of contention after a nightclub incident in Bristol. Ben Stokes will be a particular miss with him adding some bite in both the batting lineup and bowling lineup.
England goes into the Ashes with an unpredictability that might pay off with wins or be trounced by the Aussie side. Australia is coming into the games with one of the weakest sides their nation has produced. An incredibly inexperienced batting order includes Mathew Wade and Tim Paine. The wicket Keeper Peter Nevill has an average of 22 in tests and the highest score of 32 all season for NSW. Gilchrist he is not.
Who Will Win
Australia has only drawn 3 of 30 tests and England 4 of 35. This means a bet on a no draw series at 11.8 might be a smart bet. It also leaves the door open for the 5-0 loss England pessimists might be waiting for.
The games are also being played under the lights where a ball can sing. The chances of draws are slim on this tour.
Surprisingly despite England’s clear statistical dominance, they are still underdogs with the bookmakers. Paddy Power has England at 11/4 to return with the ashes.
Australia’s favouritism with the bookies comes from historical fact. England has always struggled in the heat of an Aussie summer. The men in gold are at 1/2. If those odds are too short you could be clever and go to Australia to win after a win in the opening match at the Gabba. The Aussies are incredibly successful at the Brisbane ground and with odds of 23/20 there is a profit margin!
England’s Top Scorer
With Ben Stokes out more pressure is placed on the middle order and Moeen Ali to help balance the side. Instead, the runs are going to have to come from the openers.
Joe Root is in his first Ashes as captain and it will be interesting to see if the trials of captaining will affect his ability with the bat. He is 19/10 to be the highest scorer for England.
Former captain Alistair Cook is close with 5/2 which would make you think he might be England’s go to run-maker. The release from captaining might also seem to free him with the bat. Do not be fooled. He has been in worrying form ever since a double hundred at Edgbaston last summer.
If both don’t score on the series then England might as well get on the plane. New boy Mark Stoneman has been chucked in at the deep end but if you are feeling there is a star in the making there is money to be made at 10/1
England’s Top Bowler
While England appears to be entering the fray with a fantastic bowling attack there are hidden frailties.
James Anderson has been a wonderful servant for the nation and his bowling has kept England in countless games. Jimmy does not like the Australian sun, however. Stuart Broad has fared much better in the ashes and will be working off some happier memories against the Aussies.
The big issue is the lack of anything else behind them. Moeen Ali can be inspired but Australia is not really a spinners paradise for someone who is still primarily a batsman despite some huge wicket hauls.
With the two seamers ageing and not a lot around them though Ali could be the best bet to be the biggest wicket taker over the series at 5/1.