England need a miracle run-chase or their Ashes dream is over. Paul Krishnamurty is backing their batsmen to go down without a whimper…
Latest score: Australia 179 & 171-6, England 67
Australia are likely to retain the Ashes on Saturday after their bowlers turned the third test into a probable rout. 16 wickets fell on day two, with England skittled for a pathetic 67. Josh Hazlewood took 5-30 while, remarkably, Joe Denly top-scored with 12 runs.
Aussies have already set a daunting target
The upshot is that the tourists have probably got enough runs on the board already. 283 would represent an extremely formidable target and the Aussie tail are perfectly capable of wagging in the morning, taking that up to 350.
Not impossible by historical standards – West Indies chased 322 here two years ago. However this is not a normal Headingley pitch – it has apparently offered more movement than any in the history of a ground already famous for movement!
Frankly I don't give England a prayer and odds of [7.0] make no appeal. Batting won't be easier and Nathan Lyon could offer a different, potent threat in the second innings.
The match is not quite dead as a betting heat though. Were England to make a decent start to the run chase – very big if – the odds could tighten. If Australia hit [1.7] at any stage, I'm taking it.
Oppose England to get 200 on brutal pitch
That is being optimistic. 200 would be an achievement on this pitch, regardless of England's transparent batting woes. There is scant liquidity in the England 2nd Innings Runs market as yet but I'll be looking to lay that band at around [1.7].
Another market to consider is Top England 2nd Innings Batsman. Joe Root is favourite at [4.4] but, like so many, is hard to back with any confidence in current form. On that measure, Ben Stokes almost feels like a default pick at [6.0]. Plus given a low total is expected, Chris Woakes isn't out of it at [20.0]
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