England on the Ropes with WACA Knockout Imminent

If the 2017/2018 Ashes were a boxing match, England would be reeling under the constant barrage of punches thrown by Australia. It is a fight that has been witnessed before and often leads to a knockout blow when the sides arrive in Perth for the third test. Historically, when England get off to a bad start Down Under, the WACA is the venue where the guillotine falls and the Ashes are surrendered.

2 10 Joe Root

The prospect of trying to revive the series at the WACA will be a daunting one for England as their last victory at this ground was back in 1978. Much of the pre-Ashes game plan for England would have been to come out the traps flying so there was an insurance policy in place by the time the Perth test arrived, given their woeful history at the venue. The opposite has happened and Steve Smith’s men will feel they have England well positioned for a checkmate move.

As is so often the case during the playing of the Ashes Down Under, the pace of the Australian quicks proves to be the defining factor. So far, the Australian pace bowlers have accounted for 28 of the 40 English wickets to have fallen. Mitchell Starc leads the Ashes wicket-taking column with 14 and fellow fast bowlers Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins have seven apiece. The surprise package has been Nathan Lyon with his off-spin, which has been highly effective especially against the English left-handers.

The rampant Lyon is only three wickets behind Starc and has 11 to his name. The way in which he has worked in tandem with the quicks has been the underlying key to Australia’s dominant position they find themselves in. If England want to throw a few counterpunches, Lyon will need to be tamed.

They will need to be aggressive towards him and not let him settle when he comes on to bowl at the WACA. This way Smith won’t have the luxury of rotating his fast bowlers at will. The more work the quicks have to do the less effective they will be and this will be highlighted at the WACA given the blistering outfield. The Three Lions will be able to use the threat of the Australian pace attack against if they adopt a positive approach with the willow in hand.

Mitchell Starc won’t be fearing an English onslaught and instead will be hoping for a traditional fast and bouncy wicket when he takes the new ball at the WACA. He has 14 scalps to his name so far this series and that will be a lot closer to 25 come the end of the Perth test. The tall left-armer from Sydney is relishing the responsibility that comes with being the Australian frontline seamer. It is no surprise to see him backed at odds of 4/6 to be the leading wicket-taker at the end of the five-match series and punters who feel Starc will carry on and finish on top of the pile can access up to £50 of free bets from Ladbrokes on Oddschecker. England need to deal with the Starc threat by being bold before he leaves scars that won’t heal with time.

Scoring quickly will transfer the pressure and will act as a minor power shift as England try to get themselves back into a place where they are the ones able to deal out the body blows. It is at times like this, with England under the pump, that one wonders how valuable Ben Stokes contribution would have been in a counter-attacking strategy that seems the Three Lions best chance of survival in the series.

GONE!  Got Him!  Middle stump goes flying

Everyone connected to the England cricket team will be wondering how a left-arm quick is dismantling their team again. When Mitchell Johnson retired, there was a sigh of relief after the demolition job he did in 2013 but now it appears Starc is picking up where his counterpart left off.

England’s record in Australia since 2013 doesn’t make for encouraging reading. They have lost their last seven tests in a row and in 14 innings only managed to pass 300 on three occasions. They will need to apply themselves and fight bravely if their Ashes ambitions aren’t to be lying on the canvas after the Perth test.

2015 Ashes Spread BettingTips

Ashes Spread Betting Tips

Mitchell Johnson’s wicket spread betting index for the 2015 Ashes series in England is Sell at 240 – Buy at 250. The way the spread works, sees Johnson get 10 points awarded for every wicket taken, with a 25 point bonus awarded for every 5 wicket haul (so if Johnson takes 5 wickets in an innings, he would get 75 points).

In the 2013/14 Ashes series down under, Johnson had an unbelievable series, taking 37 wickets, with three 5 wicket hauls. That would have netted him an extraordinary 445 points, totally smashing the spread.

Behind Johnson in the stats, came Ryan Harris with 22 wickets and one 5 wicket haul, resulting in 245 spread betting points. Then it was Stuart Broad with 21 wickets, and one 5 wicket haul, which would have seen him reach 235 points.

I would suggest the points totals of Ryan Harris and Stuart Broad are the more realistic figures in any 5 match series. I would totally discard Johnson’s 37 wicket haul as a one off freak show. It was an extraordinary achievement, but what are the chances of it happening again?

Personally, I think the best Mitchell Johnson will achieve is his spread, and I would be quite prepared to Sell Mitchell Johnson’s Ashes betting Spread of 240 points.

Please note, if Johnson misses a Test match, 51 points will be awarded for every Test he misses. So please don’t be under the impression that you can win money by Johnson not playing.

Back in the 2013 Ashes series in England, Graeme Swann took 26 wickets with two 5 wicket hauls, giving him 310 points. Swann was a top quality spinner playing on pitches prepared for him. After Swann (back in 2013) came Ryan Harris, he took 24 wickets in 4 Test matches with two 5 wicket hauls, that would have won him 341 points (he would have got an extra 51 for missing one Test match), actually putting him above Swann.

Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson both scored 270 points in 2013, which would be slightly above Johnson’s spread, but it shows that English style bowlers (obviously) prosper in English style conditions, which would surely make Josh Hazelwood a better bet if you are looking to buy points.

Josh Hazelwood’s spread points are Sell at 225 – Buy at 235. Personally I would expect Hazelwood to pick up 20 wickets quite comfortably in this series, and just one 5 wicket haul (along with 20 wickets) would put him above his Buy spread of 235.

If Hazelwood is too have an outstanding Ashes series, he could smash 235 points, and make over 300 points. Ryan Harris showed in 2013 what a good old fashioned English style line and length bowler can do, and Hazelwood has all those tools and a lot more.

Personally, I see Josh Hazelwood as a better wicket taking option in this Ashes series than Mitchell Johnson. So therefore my Ashes spread betting tips would be to Sell Mitchell Johnson’s Bowling Index at 240, and to Buy Josh Hazelwood’s Bowling Index at 235 points – both prices with Sporting Index.

Ashes Betting Preview

Despite coming so soon on the back of the last series in England, it appears that – for the time being at least – the Aussie and British appetite for the Ashes is showing no sign of slowing down…. at least, if the build up over the last few days has been anything to go by.

The Aussies seem confident, there seems to be a new feeling of self belief coming out of the their camp, a sense that they have bottomed out, and that their worst days are now well behind them.
For England, they are saying all the right things, as they always do. Andy Flower always seems to have them singing from the same hymn sheet, and making sure that his players are sending out the right message, en mass
I expect Kevin Pietersen to be the star man for England this series. He is set to win his 100th cap in Brisbane, and I think he seems really up for this series, more than he usually is.
Pietersen seems a very content man these days. All the nonsense is behind him now, and he seems to be an integral part of the team, and buying into the team ethic 100%.
Despite Michael Carberry looking set to come into the team, and Joe Root dropping down the order, the English batting looks fairly settled to me.
Compare that to the Aussie batting, with Watson at No.3, and Steven Smith at No.5 – I would take the England batting ahead of Australia’s any day. I could end up with egg on my face here, but I just don’t see Watson as a top three batsman. 
As well as not seeing Watson as a batsman good enough to bat in the top 3, I also don’t see Steven Smith as a No.5, for me his is a 6 or 7 at best. Will these batting weaknesses cost Australia?
The Aussie bowling also looks a bit fragile. Can Ryan Harris last 5 Tests? And is Mitchell Johnson really back to his best? If the answers to both these questions is yes, then Australia will certainly be in this series.
The England side is pretty settled and predictable. Did England take their foot off the gas after Lord’s in the last series in England? Or are Australia better than we gave them credit for, and competed on an equal footing at the back end of the series, making England look average? 
My Predictions

Although I think England are the slightly stronger side, I see home advantage helping Australia, and with the Aussie public seemingly up for this too – believing their boys have a chance – I think that the contest could be fairly even.
I know it sounds obvious, but I simply believe the team who plays the best cricket in the pressure moments will win. 
To elaborate a bit more on that, I think the two teams are reasonably evenly matched, so it will be whoever steps up to the plate at the key moments that wins the series.
Australia played some good cricket at times in England last summer, but when it came to the crunch, they didn’t play too well under pressure…. key moments such as at Durham.
It remains to be seen if the Australians have overcome this habit of losing, and can win the pressure battles – I do believe that if they can handle the pressure, they can possibly win the series. 
Do I believe they will handle the pressure and win the series? I’m not convinced. 
If push comes to shove, I would go for England, but I think it will be a closer result – so my selection is 2-1 England.