An English win would put them in an unassailable 2-0 lead with 2 Tests to go while a win for the hosts, at 7/4 (Totesport), would level the series and put many fears to rest.
The Australian press have ripped into Ponting’s men and many have lost faith in the selectors as they have drafted in the inexperienced Michael Beer, so can Australia respond at the WACA?
Perhaps they can. Mitchell Johnson is back to a ground he has had great success at while the tall Stuart Broad is injured and unable to exploit the bounce. Tremlett would be a good replacement for the tourists, he is 7/2 at Boylesports to take the most wickets for England but Bresnan is the solid and sensible option. Johnson is a decent looking 7/2 (Betfred) to take the most wickets for the hosts.
Clarke seems to have found a bit of form with the bat (5/1, bet365, to be Australia’s top batsmen here) and Australia should look to rebuild their team around him and Johnson. Ponting needs to start firing (4/1, Paddy Power, to top score) and if he does, the Baggy Greens have a real chance of taking this one.
While practice games are nowhere near the same as the real thing, England hardly carried over the momentum of the Adelaide win into the 3-day game against Victoria and looked a bit weaker in attack. Anderson’s massive round trip to the UK has to be of some concern and surely he will be affected by jet lag. Ali Cook is 4/1 with 888sport to carry on his excellent start to the Ashes tour and top score for England.
Australia have a chance to defy their critics in Perth to win at 7/4 (Betfred) but they’ll have to knuckle down. If England dig in again for massive partnerships, perhaps take a double chance about Australia and the draw, 8/15 at Skybet.