Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 16 April 2014

The Punter: Stick with Ponting

England expected and the team delivered as the Ashes were reclaimed for the first time in four years.

That 4-1 for an Oval victory turned out to be a great bet and now the focus turns to Down Under in 18 months time.

After England won in 2005, they went out to Oz and suffered a whitewash defeat in 2006-07 and the Australians will be thirsting for revenge.

Already Ladbrokes make the Baggy Greens 16-1 for a similar result in 2010-11 and 1-2 to win the series with England at 6-4 to retain the urn.

Betfred go 7-2 that England can win in Australia for the first time since Mike Gatting emerged triumphant in 1986-87.

A drawn series is generally available at 9-2.

A lot can happen in 18 months and expect several of the Aussies to have benefited from the experience. Some new faces may well come on board in the pace-bowling department while Michael Clarke is all the talk to take over the captaincy after the 2-1 defeat gave Ponting the unwanted record of becoming only the second Australian captain — and first since Billy Murdoch way back in 1890 — to lose two Ashes series in England.

But Ponting, who has had a good personal series, deserves to be given a chance to win back the Ashes as there was not much between the two teams and with a little luck, it could have gone

the other way. He is 5-6 to start the next Ashes series as skipper.

The Aussies should have won the first Test in Cardiff which saw England holding on like grim death for a draw, the last three wickets holding out for three hours.

The difference between the two was England’s better bowlers and the winning of the toss at the spin-friendly Brit Oval.

The Aussie selectors made a mistake leaving out spinner Nathan Hauritz as he would have played a major role in the decider.

The statistics show that Australia made seven individual centuries to England's two, and they had six men averaging over 40 in the five Tests, compared to just Andrew Strauss and Jonathan Trott for England, so Australia were definitely superior with the bat.

Winners on the betting front.

Series winner: England best price (2-1).

Series correct score: England 2-1 |(9-1).

Top series batsman: A Strauss 474 (15-2).

Top series bowler: B Hilfenhaus 22 (33-1).

Player of series: A Strauss (16-1).

Top England batsman: A Strauss 474 (4-1).

Top Australia series batsman: Michael Clarke 448 (6-1).

Top Australia bowler: B Hilfenhaus 22 (14-1).

Top England bowler: S Broad 18 (5-1).