After just 14 days of cricket, the Baggygreens have regained the famous urn and remain on track to secure a second consecutive 5-0 series win on home soil. Despite their best effort with the bat so far this series, the England side were humiliated in Perth ultimately succumbing by an innings and 41 runs. A monster partnership between Steve Smith and Mitch Marsh was the central reason for the Australian victory at the WACA, but the Aussie bowlers are causing the tourists all sorts of problems and have now dismissed the English team for under 250 on four occasions across the first three Tests. Heading into the famous Boxing Day Test, it’s hard to picture anything but an Aussie win although Trevor Bayliss’ side is sure to draw on England’s famous innings victory at this venue in 2010 as inspiration.
- AUSTRALIA’s record at the MCG across their last five Tests is 4-1-0.
- ENGLAND has won only one of their last four Tests at the MCG.
- ENGLAND has only scored 400+ in three of their last 18 innings.
- AUSTRALIA has won their last eight home Tests against England.
- AUSTRALIA has lost the toss in five consecutive Ashes Tests, but won four of those matches.
- STEVE SMITH has scored three centuries in his last four Tests against England.
- After a career best 239 in Perth, Steve Smith’s numbers continue to soar. The right-hand bat now averages 62.31 in the long format of the game and has racked up an incredible 22 centuries in 59 Tests. Smith has looked invincible at the crease this series and his scores of 239, 40, 6 and 139 reflect his dominance of the English attack. In that respect, it’s hard to look past the Aussie skipper to once again be his side’s top run scorer. Value wise, Usman Khawaja may be the player worth having a look at however. Despite a relatively lean series thus far, the talented number three has a great track record in the Boxing Day Test with scores of 144, 97 and 56 in his three innings so far.
For England, Dawid Malan will certainly not have lost any supporters after his big 1st innings 140 in Perth. At juicy $7 odds, he’s another well worth considering.
Mitchell Starc has 19 wickets in the series already and is causing the English batting line-up all sorts of problems with his 150km/h thunderbolts. The left-arm paceman’s first innings 4-91 was the 8th time he had taken three wickets or more in an innings (Sheffield Shield included) across his last five matches.
For England, James Anderson shapes as the player most likely and he’ll be hoping for a repeat performance of his 4-44 at this venue in 2010 which helped his side skittle the Aussies for 98.
High Bat: David Warner (Aust.)
Wickets: Pat Cummins (Aust.)
Value picks: Cameron Bancroft (Aust.) to score 100+ & Usman Khawaja (Aust.) to be the Australian High Bat