Belfast Telegraph

The Punter: Ashes pendulum swings in favour of Strauss’s men

No surprise to see England slashed in price to retain the Ashes after that tremendous fightback to salvage a draw in the opening Test in Brisbane.

The show moves on to Adelaide starting at midnight tomorrow night with the layers quoting Andrew Strauss at 4-7 to hold on to the urn. The Aussies are on the drift out to 6-4.

That bet of 10-11 with England (+1) on the Ashes handicap, is looking better and better.

It all went pear-shaped for England on the opening day but at the end, after a mammoth total of 517-1 in the second innings, it was Strauss who was in a buoyant mood compared to his Australian counterpart Ricky Ponting.

The Aussies were badly exposed on the bowling front and in the field, none more so than pace-bowling duet Mitchell Johnson and Ben Hilfenhaus who only took one wicket between them in 93 overs.

Peter Siddle who picked up a hat-trick, is the 11-10 favourite from an initial 8-1 to be the top Australian bowler and that looks the case as the Aussie selectors scramble around to strengthen the front-line attack by bringing in Ryan Harris and Doug Bollinger.

Johnson started out as 11-4 favourite for this honour but can be taken now at 7-1 and if his first Test is anything to go by, is best avoided. In fact, don’t be surprised if he is left out this time.

Alastair Cook’s record-breaking 235 not out, sees him on a total of 302 and naturally a hot 1-2 to be England’s top batman as he is 138 ahead of his nearest rival Jonathan Trott and 192 in front of Strauss.

Cook is 9-2 to score a century in the first innings in Adelaide and that is more than a possibility as the Adelaide pitch lends itself to run-scoring.

William Hill quote 5-1 for any English batsman to hit a double century in the second Test and that’s not a bad bet considering there have been five double-hundreds and scores in excess of 150 in the last eight Tests at this venue.

A flat surface sees another draw as the outcome anticipated by the layers (6-5) with 5-2 your pick on a win for either side.

England’s confidence will be high and the Three Lions with a draw no bet, is the call at 5-6 with Paddy Power.

Steve Finn leads the way on the English-wicket taking front with six under his belt already and at 11-4 is worth a shout to be number one ahead of Graeme Swann (2) at 13-8 who may not find conditions favouring spin.

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