This game looks pretty dead as a betting contest unless you fancy opposing the Draw in any way. At the start of Day 4, the odds are currently – The Draw 1/25 – Australia 10/1 – England 66/1.
As I write, the covers are on with 30 minutes to go until the scheduled start of play, and rain is ‘forecast’ to dominate Day 4.
Some might see 1/25 on the Draw as buying money, but the UK weather forecasters are renowned for not been the most accurate in the world, and I most certainly wouldn’t call it buying money.
There is a possibility of some play today, and if/when they do get out today, conditions are surely going to suit bowling. If Australia could get enough play in to bowl England out short of the follow on target, then there could be some life left in this match yet.
If England do end up following on, then they only have themselves to blame really, as they have already batted enough overs to have comfortably made the follow-on without taking too many risks.
I’m not criticising England for not been entertaining yesterday, but I do think they almost played too slow for their own good – and they certainly should be wary about playing cricket to the weather forecast.
For all the moaning about England’s batting yesterday, it isn’t England’s job to entertain. Although I have already said I believe they already should have reached the follow-on target, I can see the logic behind England’s tactics.
Australia have their tails up. They are getting loud and cocky again, Lehmann seems to be creating an atmosphere in the camp, and seems to be bringing back that Aussie brashness of old. If they can go back to Australia with a win, and some good old fashioned Pom bashing headlines, they could whip the public up and regain some self belief.
In doing what they are, to me England are dampening Australia’s enthusiasm and draining their – new found – self belief. It’s like England are saying to Australia, ‘the odds are stacked in your favour, it’s a dead rubber, we’re playing an experimental side, and you still can’t beat us.’
So I don’t blame England really. While from Australia’s point of view, they will claim the weather has robbed them (again), but until the Aussies bowl England out, I don’t really see how they can blame the weather.