England retained the Ashes when rain washed out play in Manchester. There’s still plenty of sports betting value left in this series yet, as the 4th Test has yet to be played.
Heavy rain on the final day at Old Trafford meant that England escaped from a precarious position to draw the Third Test of this Ashes series. That draw leaves them with an unassailable 2-0 lead in the five game contest and means that Australia cannot regain the Ashes which they lost in 2009. In terms of days played, it is the earliest that any Ashes series has been decided since the 1920s and also the first time that England have retained the urn in three Tests since that decade.
Don’t take that as meaning that there is no value left for our sports picks in the series. For starters, there is the final score market. Australia comprehensively outplayed England in Manchester, avoiding being bowled out in either innings and reducing the hosts to 37-3 in the final stages of play possible. Captain Michael Clarke said after the game that they would be looking to square the series at 2-2 in order to take some confidence going into the home series this winter. That’s a 12/1 shot with Bet365 at the moment, but the real surprise after this weekend is that 3-0 and 4-0 wins to England are still the favored bets. We said at the start of the series that it would be a surprise if Australia didn’t win one game and backing 2-1 England will net you 6/1 with Paddy Power.
Then there’s the Fourth Test, which starts this Friday in Durham. The Riverside is hosting its first Ashes match and has been a happy hunting ground for England against other Test opponents. The same isn’t quite so for the Australians. When they played there in a one day international back in the 2000s, all-rounder Shane Watson ended up sleeping on a team-mates floor, claiming that his hotel room was haunted.
England should be unchanged for that game, although they have called Durham seamer Graham Onions into their squad for a little local knowledge. However, in order to play him they would have to leave out all-rounder Tim Bresnan, and with so many of their star batsmen out of form they can’t really afford to lose his batting prowess. At 5/2 with BetFred the draw looks the safest bet here, but for once England are not odds-on and Bet365 offer 11/10 on them winning here, with the Aussies at 11/4.
Looking at the batsmen, if you backed Alastair Cook or Jonathan Trott to be the top English batsman in this series then now might be the time to lay those bets off. Neither has been in good form and Cook picked up his first duck as captain at Old Trafford. Kevin Pietersen, by contrast, looked to be back to his old self in making 113 in England’s first innings and he’s still a very decent 4/1 at most online sportsbooks to be their top scorer in Durham.
Another batsman back to form in Manchester was Clarke. The Aussie skipper led the way with a magnificent hundred and is now so far ahead of his colleagues in the race to be their leading run scorer in the series that it really isn’t worth backing either him or anyone else. If you are betting in play, though, Old Trafford gave you something to look for. Cricketers can be a bit superstitious and for many players the number 111 is one that they are wary of. Australians, though, look to 87 as the score to avoid and in their first innings in Manchester Clarke was out for 187 and two other batsmen, Chris Rogers and Steve Smith, both fell in the 80s. That’s something to watch out for when looking to the spread markets, particularly.