Latest score: Australia 179 & 246, England 67 & 156-3
First rule of punditry – never go out on a limb. It always comes back to haunt you. 24 hours ago I wrote that England didn't have a prayer of saving the Ashes. They certainly have now. Precisely, they need 203 runs with seven wickets remaining to achieve their highest successful run chase ever on home soil. Game on!
Third wicket fightback sparks huge gamble
At 15-2, England's odds on the exchange peaked at [17.0] before a 126 partnership between Joe Root and Joe Denly brought them right back into the game. The target to back Australia at [1.7] recommended yesterday was matched.
Despite this being a lot closer than expected, I'm happy with that position. England did well to maintain wickets but a guide to how difficult batting has been is their miserly 2.16 run-rate. Getting these runs will take pretty much all day.
Besides that partnership, England have shown virtually no indication of hitting record scores or being able to survive that long batting fourth. The formbook says at some stage Australia will take a spate of wickets and put the chase beyond reach.
Aussie to make swift inroads with new ball
Australia will get a new ball eight overs into tomorrow morning. It is essential for England that Root and Ben Stokes face it. Otherwise 156-3 could easily become 200-6.
I'm playing two markets that may appear contradictory but, in a dream scenario, could both win. If not, they should cover each other. First, England 2nd Innings Runs. [1.75] about England scoring 300 or more and [1.4] on the lower 275 band are both worth laying, with an eye on that new ball and potential for an early collapse.
Second, in Test Match End, [4.8] about Day 4 Evening is huge. Assume 55 overs are bowled beforehand. At 2.5 per over, (higher than currently), they will be on 290 going into the final session. A result would be guaranteed.
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