After the facile second Test victory at Lord’s gave them a 2-0 series advantage, England only need to avoid defeat against Australia in the third clash at Old Trafford this week to retain the Ashes.
Reassuringly for the home supporters, it’s just 1/8 at best with Stan James for the hosts to either prevail or draw in Manchester while the visitors are as high as 9/2 courtesy of BetVictor to get themselves right back into the series with a third Test success.
England’s dominance at Lord’s ensures they’re odds-on at 4/5 via bet365 to take an unassailable 3-0 lead and wrap up the series, while Paddy Power post 13/5 against the draw, a result that looks a touch more possible than in the previous two encounters given the weather forecast.
Nevertheless, even if some play is lost to rain, the Australian batting has been sufficiently suspect to suggest that a result would still be likely and as the momentum is all with Alistair Cook’s side, they should be the ones celebrating by next Monday. Put simply, they’re huge at the price.
As far as the top English batsman is concerned, bookies are struggling to separate four players. Skipper Alistair Cook is a 4/1 shot at Stan James, Kevin Pietersen, who is seemingly over his injury concerns, is also rated at 4/1 by BetVictor and bet365 post identical odds against Joe Root following his stunning innings in the second Test.
However, Jonathan Trott has threatened to come up with a big score in both Tests so far and this could be the match that sees him finally do so. Betway chalk England’s number three up at 4/1 to grab the most first innings runs and that’s worth considering, alongside Skybet’s 5/1 for in-form Ian Bell to top score.
The potential for showers meanwhile, means the ball could swing at Old Trafford and that’s one of the reasons James Anderson is a clear favourite at 15/8 (Stan James) to be his side’s most successful bowler in the opening innings.
For the Aussies, controversial batsman David Warner is in line for a recall so he’ll attract cash at 11/2 with bet365 to be his team’s best batsman and with the ball in hand, it’s hard to see past Ryan Harris (5/2) in William Hill’s ‘Top Australia Bowler’ market.
Finally, for punters seeking something a touch safer, Winner.com offer 8/15 about the first dismissal coming via a catch.