Want to know why the Ashes Second Test betting has both sides at the same price as opposed to England as strong favourites?


Ashes Second Test Betting: Australia on the up

Whether winning the World Cup or winning back the Ashes is more important probably depends on what type of England cricket fan you are.

If you’re the sort brought up on a diet of coloured kits, cheerleaders, over-the-top commentary and enjoy watching 350+ runs scored on regular basis, it will probably be the former.

If the Boycott forward defensive, gritty Michael Atherton backs-to-the-wall innings, lovely out-swinging deliveries on a fourth stump line and plenty of men around the bat on a fifth-day pitch are more your thing, then you’ll almost certainly belong in the latter category. And you’ll be justifiably worried about what happened in the First Test and what might happen in the remaining four.

Before the Ashes started, Australia were 2.8 to win the Series. The fact that they’re now a best price of 1.65 on the Betfair Exchange tells you all you need to know.


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Yes, taking a 1-0 lead in the Series obviously drastically increases their chances but the price suggests everyone thinks the present gulf in quality is too great for England to find a way back.

So what’s gone wrong with England?


World Cup hangover

Not literally. The drink-fuelled celebrations will have ended weeks ago; even Andrew Flintoff didn’t keep those going for that long. But it will have been hard for the likes of Ben Stokes, Joe Root, Jos Buttler, Chris Woakes, Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy to go from those euphoric highs- especially given the manner of that World Cup Final win- back to the hard graft of tough, uncompromising, patient cricket.


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It will have been a very different story for Australia. Not only will they have had a few more days to prepare after their semi final exit but unlike England, they will have felt they had something to prove and that the Ashes was the perfect stage on which to do it. Four of Australia’s players who played in that ill-fated semi-final against England featured in the 1st Ashes Test: David Warner, Steve Smith, Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon. Of those four, only Warner didn’t make a mammoth contribution to that Test win at Edgbaston. The other three were all contenders for man-of-the-match; it ultimately went to Smith for his twin centuries.


Steve Smith playing like Bradman


Speaking of which, England won’t be winning the next Test match- they’re a best price of 2.4 with Betway to win at Lord’s- unless they learn how to dismiss Smith…before he gets to raise his bat.

His innings in Birmingham was a masterclass of solidity in defence, good execution of shots, sensible running and endless amounts of physical and mental stamina.

How do you get this man out? Answers on a postcard. England’s current players must have felt like those who developed Bodyline just to counter-act the threat of one man.   And he may look a lot more awkward but Smith’s prolific run-scoring may just rival Don Bradman’s if he keeps on going like this.

The simple answer seems to be ’you need to get him early’. The more complex answer is: how?

No wonder he’s a best price of just 1.14 to finish as the Ashes top runscorer from across both teams and why Ashes Second Test betting has him at 2.5 to be Australian first innings top batsman for Lord’s at just 2.5 with Betfair Sportsbook .


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James Anderson’s injury  

A good example of that famous saying about the best-laid plans of mice and men.

Plan A was always to open the bowling with James Anderson and ask the master craftsman to quickly work out how to get the most out of the wicket. What pace, line and length to bowl and how to maximise the hardness of the new ball in any favourable conditions.

So England can be forgiven to an extent for struggling when within the first hour the whole plan went out of the window as the ‘Burnley Lara’ hobbled off injured.

He’ll also miss the Second Test and maybe the two after that as well. It forces England’s hand in terms of having to play Jofra Archer, which may not be a bad thing. He has a very different skillset- excelling in raw pace whereas Anderson shines in terms of swing and movement through the air but the end result (of taking wickets at key times) is the same.

How England need Archer to hit the ground running. He’s 3.75 with Betfair Sportsbook in Ashes Second Test betting to be Top England bowler in the first innings.


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England batsmen in a rut

Roy, Denly, Bairstow, Buttler. Would you back any of these with your own money to get to 50 when the action gets under way again on Wednesday? Let alone 100?

Roy’s dismissal in the second innings- running down the wicket to Lyon and getting clean bowled- should give you an insight into his mindset: that he’s a limited-overs superstar capable of vicious assaults and others containing slightly less fireworks when necessary… but perhaps not a Test batsman when it comes to technique and patience.

Denly: if he’s meant to be a Test player, why has he only played four Tests at the age of 33? It’s not like the Selectors haven’t seen enough of him on the county circuit over the years because he’s been playing on it for the past fifteen. Are we meant to believe he’s all of a sudden improved so much over the past couple of years that he now warrants a place in the side that he never did before? Or is the more plausible explanation that there’s simply currently no better option from the county game for that number four spot at present?

Bairstow and Buttler are class acts in their own way and vastly contributed to England’s good times in the Test arena over the last couple of years but look to be suffering from that World Cup hangover as much as anyone.

As for a fifth member- Rory Burns– his excellent century at Edgbaston has probably bought him enough time to think his place is safe for at least another three Tests but then again, it’s pretty much the only thing of real note he’s done in eight Test matches.

All of which makes you think that at odds of 3.5 and 7.0 respectively with Betfair, Root and Stokes don’t have much to beat for first innings top batsman honours in the Second Test.


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