Despite a slightly unsettled Australian buildup to the 1st Test of the Ashes, they are still expected to take England to the slaughter at the ground fondly known as the ‘Gabbatoir’. At the venue, the Aussies are unbeaten in their last seven Ashes games and haven’t lost to any touring side since a powerful Windies side beat them by nine wickets in 1988. Although plenty will be tempted by the odds on England, their warm-up form has been less than convincing (two draws and a win) and they will be without key player Ben Stokes.
3 KEY POINTS
- AUSTRALIA has won four of their last five Test at the Gabba which includes their 381 run defeat of England in 2013.
- ENGLAND has lost or drawn seven of their last eight Tests on foreign soil.
- ENGLAND has been victorious in only one of their last six away series.
- Australia has won seven of their last 10 Tests against England. At home, they have won their last five Ashes Tests straight
- In the last 10 Ashes Tests, the team that has won the toss has gone on to victory in seven instances
- STEVE SMITH has scored four centuries in his last eight Ashes Tests.
- Steve Smith and David Warner quite rightly attract most of the attention from punters but the value pick could well be Usman Khawaja (currently a very juicy $4.50). In his two games for Queensland at the Gabba this season, the stylish left arm bat has posted scores of 40, 122, 78* and 52 whilst his in last two Tests at the stadium he has scored 178, 9*, 4 and 74. For England, much of the focus will be on Joe Root but Alastair Cook has shown a liking for the bouncy Brisbane wicket in the past (he averages 145 runs per Test at the venue) and if he can survive the new ball, he could prove an immovable object for the Aussies.
- England’s series hopes are perhaps most reliant on the form of James Anderson. The star paceman took his 500th Test wicket over the English summer and in what could be his last Ashes series on Aussie soil, Anderson will be keen to prove himself in the conditions given his career average blows out from 27.39 to 38.44 on in Australia. Signs are good for the bowler though as he has combined figures of 9-69 in his two warm-up matches.
- Turning to the Aussies, their pace trio of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins is a formidable sight, but it is the latter that is perhaps the most interesting prospect in betting markets. Hazlewood appears good value at $3.25 given he has taken 4.5+ wickets in five of his last six Tests in Australia and has a solid record against England of 16 wickets in four Tests at 25.75.
Winner: Australia - $1.75
High Bat: Steve Smith (Aust.) - $3.50
Most Wickets (1st Innings): James Anderson (Eng.) - $3.25
Value pick: Alistair Cook (Eng.) to score 100