On a lifeless wicket in Melbourne, England rediscovered their spark, holding the series-winning Aussies to a draw. Posting 491 in their first innings, the poms always had the momentum, but David Warner and Steve Smith ensured their team would remain unbeaten this series by facing 225+ balls each in the Australian’s second innings to take the sting out of England’s attack. Heading into Sydney, Australia are outright favourites, however, England will be buoyed by their performance in the Boxing Day Test and will be hopeful of adding to their relatively successful record in Sydney with a win. Although that appears unlikely given Mitchell Starc’s slated return from injury and England’s capitulation at this ground in 2014, the juicy odds on Joe Root’s team are well worth considering, especially with Alastair Cook in the runs again.
- AUSTRALIA is unbeaten at the SCG since 2012 with a 3-2-0 record.
- ENGLAND has won two of their last five Tests at the SCG.
- ENGLAND failed to reach 200 in both innings of the New Year’s Test in 2014
- AUSTRALIA is unbeaten in their last nine home Tests against England.
- AUSTRALIA won the toss only once in their last six Ashes Tests
- STEVE SMITH has scored four centuries in his last five Tests against England.
Once again, Steve Smith’s claims in the High Bat market are impossible to ignore. The Australian skipper has looked invincible at the crease this series and his scores of 239, 40, 6, 139, 76 and 103 accurately reflect his dominance of the England attack. Alarmingly for James Anderson et al, Smith now gets the chance to play on his home ground which he has a better average (66.42) on than his already impressive career average of 63.55. Value wise, David Warner may be the player worth having a look at however with the star opener entering this game on the back of 103 and 86 in Melbourne.
For England, Alastair Cook will certainly have his supporters after his huge double century in Melbourne. At juicy $8 odds, Jonny Bairstow is also well worth considering given he has only been dismissed once in single figures this series.
Sydney is known as a spin-friendly wicket, however, recent results indicate you may be better off backing a pace bowler. In 2014 Ryan Harris claimed eight wickets for the match including a second innings 5/25 whilst Ben Stokes took 6/99 in Australia’s first. Our pick for the Aussies is Pat Cummins who had the best figures of the Australians in Melbourne with 4/117, whilst for England, it’s hard to look beyond James Anderson in what could be his final Test match on Aussie soil.
High Bat: David Warner (Aust.)
Wickets: Pat Cummins (Aust.)
Value picks: Cameron Bancroft (Aust.) to score 100+ & Pat Cummins to take be the player of the match (Aust.)