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


England captain Andrew Strauss

England captain Andrew Strauss

England captain Andrew Strauss

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.

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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.