England v Australia > 3rd Ashes Test Match
Old Trafford is the venue for the 3rd Test Match of this Ashes series and with England dominant in the previous Test, the odds are skinny for them to win this time. The weather looks set fair and there is every chance of a result again in this match despite the chance of some showers on day 2 and 3 apparently..
There won’t be many backing the tourists but I am of the opinion that they will nick a Test this summer and this could be it; they had a chance in the first Test and blew it but if Warner is restored and he and/or Watson or Clarke get ‘in’, then they could make decent scores and put up a reasonable first innings total. Whether England will let this happen is another matter but there’s always the chance of an average effort at some point in the summer from a good team and if it happens, the Aussies can take advantage and perhaps force the issue here. A lot depends on winning the toss and batting and setting 400 plus as a minimum. Warner is fairly crucial although it could be one of the unlikely names that raises their game this time.
If the Aussies set the hosts a total to chase in the 4th, then the ‘likely to be turning’ wicket could be hard to score well on; Lyon or Agar are not world-beaters for sure but (whoever is picked) could take advantage of a dusty rough surface and this just could be a surprise result in my opinion.
Probable teams > England are sweating over the fitness of KP and will decide on him just before the start
Australia will no doubt pick Warner and possible Smith will step down as he is carrying an injury niggle; Warner in for him at 6 is logical although I would like to see him open up but that would mean Rogers presumably missing out or dropping to 3 with Cowan the likely victim there.
Odds> England are either no value or great value depending on your viewpoint! at 4/5 generally > if they steam-roller the tourists as most predict, then that is a cracking 80% return – but, there is a chance of an upset and 5/1 isn’t too bad for the Aussies to nick this; perhaps trading them if you’re brave is a better move (trading cricket, especially Tests, is my preferred route as there are so many twists and you can make money by avoiding the sheep!)
Top Aus Batsman > Warner is 8/1 if you’re feeling brace, perhaps Watson at 11/2 is better as he is due a big knock at some point
Top Eng Batsman > not much value here as all pretty similar and hard to pick
Top Bowlers > Swann at 3/1 appeals in the England market as it should turn; Aussies have no stand-outs for me