Small things, big things

From 166-1 to 195-5 Australia looked to have lost their grip on this first Test. But Ashes history Down Under is littered with so-nears-yet-so-fars for England. That Joe Root’s team ended day two facing an almost certain loss was no surprise.

Australia are as short as 1.081/12 for a 1-0 lead with England 34.033/1 and the draw 22.021/1. There is a 60% chance of rain throughout for day three. You can bet the match odds market here.

It was a day which could be described as an anatomy of series defeat. There were dropped catches, wickets off no balls, a fightback and niggles to two key bowlers, Ben Stokes and Ollie Robinson.

Then a swashbuckling middle-order Aussie, reprising Adam Gilchrist or Matthew Wade, took the game away from them. Travis Head’s brilliant century left England demoralised.

It would be a mistake to write this off as ‘one of those days’ for England. That they were unlucky. There are two things , one small, one big, which should raise alarm bells.

The first was with 12 overs to go to the new ball. Head was on strike to Joe Root. At the other end was Pat Cummins, vulnerable to a fiery Mark Wood. England had to keep Head from pinching the strike to protect Cummins.

Yet they showed no interest in doing so, allowing Head to stroll for a single to mid-off, who had not been brought up to save one.

The second is a biggy. Jack Leach. To win in Australia a team has to bowl dry. How can England hope to do that when their premier spinner returns an economy rate of 8.63? It is horrific. It is impossible to overstate how much of a blow that is for England in the series.

Stat of the day

England can’t catch. Since the start of last year, England have caught just 78% of their slip chances. Only Bangladesh have a worse record in Test cricket in that time. The Rory Burns shelling of David Warner was a particular low point on day two.

How many do Australia get?

As bad a day as England had, they will be better for the overnight rest. And Head, who would have dearly loved to have kept batting, may have lost a little bit of their intensity in the moment.

Australia’s innings runs can be laid at 2.001/1 for 400 or more. That looks a bet. England have a new ball with Mark Wood and Chris Woakes ready to fire again in the morning. They are also one wicket away from Nathan Lyon, who averages 12.

How many do England get?

What will England’s second-innings par line be set at? Around about the 220 or 230 mark looks likely. It is a very tempting sell.

As you can see from the numbers below, five of the last eight opposition teams have failed to bust 230 and four of them haven’t managed 200. The all out average in those matches is just 153.

As for England, their all-out average in third-innings is 197 over their last ten Tests. They are going to do well to get up to that 220-230 mark. It is possible we might be able to lay 220 or more at the 2.1011/10 mark here.

Last eight third-innings by opposition at Brisbane
335/139/195/224/166-5/150/517-1/187
England’s last ten third-innings
303/122/135/81/178/226-2d/123-9d/313/248/391-8d

As for England’s batsmen, we are keen to short the runs of Haseeb Hanmeed and Rory Burns. Hameed is a slow scorer meaning you get plenty of time on your side. As for Burns, his Laughing Cavalier act is beginning to great. His first-innings dismissal suggests he has no idea where all his stumps are, let alone his off-stump. Another option is to short first wicket runs.

Ashes series day wins tally
Australia 2 England 0

(this story/news/article has not been edited by PostX News staff and is published from a syndicated feed)

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