Couch Critic provides his betting tips for the third Ashes test match between England and Australia which starts at Headingley on Thursday.
SETTING THE SCENE
The English came back with a bang at Lord’s. Yes they didn’t get the victory they wanted but there was only one team walking away from London and marching to Headingly with a pep in their step. Jofra Archer took to test cricket like a duck to water and a further indicator that the one match disadvantage wont easily last past Leeds is the fact that Steve Smith won’t be available due to his concussion.
LET’S TALK TACTICS
As expected, it has been a case of two strong bowling attacks and two rather weak batting line-ups facing each other in this series. In Edgbaston the Aussies edge the home side with the bat (in no small part due to Smith) whilst the loss of Jimmy had the English at a disadvantage. Burns, Bairstow and then Stokes in the second innings all pitches in for the Poms at Lord’s whilst the Aussies will still be scratching their heads as to who will get them some runs in the absence of Steve Smith.
The big question as we head to Headingly is whether the visiting Aussies will look to meet fire with fire by recalling Mitch Starc to their ranks. It was clear for all to see that the Australians were made to look like deer in the headlights by the pace assault dished out from Jofra and with only a few days between the tests there’s hardly time for their batsmen to come up with fancy tactics of getting to grips with the West Indian. Their best option might just be to retaliate in kind and give their hosts something, or rather someone, fiery to think about as well.
HOW I SEE IT PLAYING OUT
Pretty much everyone I expected to perform at Lord’s put their hand up but unfortunately they did so at the second time of asking rather than delivering as required in the first innings. Here’s how I see it going in Leeds.
I don’t see things changing much for this test match. Overhead conditions should be key to what to expect from the ball but early movement is usually par for the course. Traditionally Headingly is a good cricket wicket that could even offer a touch of spin later in the test.
With Smith out and Warner struggling we can go shopping for someone else to deliver some runs for us. The Saffa “Loose-bus-change” showed plenty of character as Smith’s replacement but he’ll find it tougher to replicate this at the second time of asking. Khawaja has struggled converting starts into big scores and Bancroft has been a walking wicket at the top of the order. Wade and Head catch the eye and I will stick with my faith in the latter to come good.
Root is back on his home ground and should be raring to go to lead his team to a crucial victory. That being said he has struggled a bit and there has to be some value in going for the likes of Stokes or Denly. I will have a nibble at the number four bat for a decent return.
On the back of a glimpse of a return to run scoring form I’m also expecting Bairstow to contribute with the willow at Headingly.
For some it might be a tough ask to replicate their impressive debut outing, but I expect the cool as ice Archer to slice through the Aussies with the extra spring he’ll have in his step. I’m taking some of the West Indian to put in a match-winning performance for his adopted country.
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