Couch Critic provides his betting tips for the second Ashes test match which starts at Lords on Wednesday.
SETTING THE SCENE
Despite being in relative control of most of the first test Day 4 domination from Smith (for the second time), Head and Wade left England with a smallish mountain to climb and they failed dismally in summiting it with a dramatic collapse at the hands of Nathan Lyon.
I was always of the opinion that the Aussies needed to hit the English early whilst the World Cup hangover was still very much prevalent. Having been jolted back to reality and this time with a fit third quick, the Poms will be keen on getting back to even keel in London.
LET’S TALK TACTICS
Make no mistake about it, the loss of Jimmy Anderson so early in the piece had a huge impact on the game. Australia being able to stage that late recovery from 120/8 would have been much tougher had the home side had an extra quick to call on. Jofra Archer is a natural substitute for Jimmy though they do differ substantially – the one is a red ball specialist with an impeccable international test record and the other seems somewhat allergic to more-day cricket yet has set the international stage alight with his performances around the world in white-ball cricket. Another bowling concern for England was the poor form of Moeen Ali. The offie has been dropped and will in al likelihood be replaced by Jack Leach. The Poms might consider rather playing another all-round seamer in Sam Curran but that would be folly since we saw what a big role Lyon played and how Root’s side struggled when trying to rely on part-time spin at Edgbaston.
Whilst the home side are wrestling with a host of issues and concerns in their ranks things are much simpler for the visitors. The Aussies will merely consider bringing in Starc or Hazlewood for Peter Siddle. An already brittle English batting order will have their hands full regardless of who the Australian selectors opt for to accompany Pattinson and Cummins. For the home side someone needs to find a way to assist Root in ensuring they manage to put enough runs on the board.
Lord’s is expected to offer more for the quick men than what we saw in the first test though I personally felt it was a great wicket that offered something for everyone. Of course this is England and the golden rule remains – look up not down to determine what the ball will do.
HOW I SEE IT PLAYING OUT
The English will have been shaken out of their slumber, but the question is whether a very much awake England have the fire power to dispatch of this plucky, street wise Aussie outfit…
Bad news for the Poms is that Steve Smith made a double century the las time they faced him at Lord’s! But with some movement expected with the new ball I still feel the value lies lower down the order in this game. Between Wade and Head I will follow my head… In this same vein Stokes could come in lower down and be the best performer with the willow for the home side.
The one guy that does have fire in excess is the Barbados-born Archer. The Aussies will try to wear him down, but Root should look to use him in short, sharp spells and despite his lack of red-ball experience there is at the end of the day no substitute for raw pace.
Starc might be brought in but I still feel Cummins is the real leader of the test attack and I’m backing him to get the most first innings wickets on a track that should suit the quick men early doors.
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Note, odds quoted are available at the time of writing but are subject to change