Our cricket expert shares betting tips for the fourth test of The Ashes series at the Old Trafford Cricket Ground. England will look to level the series after winning the third test.
England vs Australia (Wednesday 10:00 UTC)
After a slow start to the series, going down 2-0 to the Aussies, England (2.48) kept the Ashes dream alive after claiming the third Ashes Test. England will be hoping to use the momentum from this three-wicket victory to level the scores and force a decider.
There were strong displays from Chris Woakes, Ben Stokes, Harry Brook and Stuart Broad but it was fast bowler Mark Wood that stole the show at Headingley. Captain Ben Stokes explained to the media how he was tempted to use Mark Wood in the second test, but had doubts over his fitness. The choice was to select Joshua Tongue amid these concerns, with Stokes explaining “We brought Tonguey into the team as a like-for-like with Woody”, giving Wood an extra week to build his body up.
The decision to bring Wood back into the fray proved to be an extremely good choice. Wood transformed England’s bowling attack and captivated the Headingley crowd with his incredibly quick bowling. The fast bowler broke the record for the quickest over ever bowled at Headingley, taking five wickets for 34 within the same innings. The crowd seemed to love Wood’s rocket deliveries, really rejuvenating the buzz around the England squad.
There were also considerable contributions from Harry Brook, the ever-impressive Ben Stokes, Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes. Brook, now back at number 5 in the batting order, delivered a vital 75 runs in England’s second innings with Chris Woakes delivering a match-winning 32 runs in the same innings. There was a point within the last innings where the test could’ve gone either way, but Brook and Woakes steered the ship, showing class and composure to force a fourth test at Old Trafford.
Australia’s head coach, Andrew McDonald, has selection headaches ahead of the fourth test. Perhaps the easier selection headache faces is whether or not to recall Josh Hazlewood. The tall fast bowler was rested for the third test at Headingley, after playing a key role in the first two. After a few tough years in terms of injury, Australian captain Pat Cummins has been careful with Hazlewood, in fear of overworking the bowler and potentially facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines. Australia are 2.61 to win the fourth test.
The more difficult choice that McDonald faces is how to accommodate Mitchell Marsh, after his impressive third test century. Marsh was filling in for the briefly injured Cameron Green, who was expected to return in place of Marsh without much thought ahead of the fourth test.
But after Marsh’s display, McDonald may opt to shift things about to accommodate the batsman. Replacing Warner as the opening batsman has been hinted at, but we won’t know for sure until the lineup is revealed.
England’s spirits should be lifted after their third test triumph. Fans will be rejuvenated, with hopes still alive that England can turn the tide and stage a remarkable comeback – This would be only the second time a team has overcome a 2-0 deficit in the Ashes, since Australia’s side in 1936/37. A draw in this Test is 3.85.
**Odds are subject to change. Odds accurate as of 14:00 UTC Tuesday 18th July**
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