Cricket’s fiercest rivalry returns this summer following an agonising two-and-a-half-year absence. Last summer’s scheduled meeting was postponed due to the Olympic Games in London but the wait has only heightened the anticipation ahead of the opening Test in July. England verses Australia is a blockbusting spectacle between two countries who have a strong desire to win, however, past encounters show that there is so much more than pride at stake when these two foes meet.
England of course have the advantage this year. Not only are they playing on home soil but they crucially have a mental edge over the Aussies, having retained the famous Urn in Australia back in 2011. Andy Flower’s men were simply exceptional on that occasion, humiliating their rivals, while shattering a host of records in the process.
Alastair Cook and his side will now look to successfully keep hold of the Ashes and prevent the visitors causing an upset. If they manage to do that then they will level the all-time record between the sides, which currently stands at Australia = 31 wins, England = 30 wins. The hosts are currently the odds-on favourites win with odds as short as 4/9 to win the Series.
However, the Aussies have a point to prove, having failed to win since 2006 and they will be gunning to win on English soil for the first time in their last three attempts (2001) and can be backed at 10/3 with the British bookmakers to do so, while a draw is priced at 5/1.
England won the last series 3-1, and can be found at a tempting price of 6/1 to conjure up a repeat result. Meanwhile they are 15/2 to win 2-1, as they have done for the past two times on home soil. Australia’s last victory over here was in 2001 when they spanked England 4-1, with that same scoreline a long shot at 50/1. A draw seems a more likely occurrence at 13/2, while a 2-1 Aussie victory could be the way to go at 12/1.
The first Test gets underway in Nottingham at TrentBridge, with England the 10/11 favourites to kick off proceedings on a winning note, while the Aussies are available at 2/1, and a draw is at 11/4. The Ashes then moves to the capital to the famous Lords cricket ground, before returning north to Old Trafford. The fourth Test will venture even further north to Middlesbrough’s Riverside Ground, with the fifth and final Test at the Oval.
Alastair Cook amassed a stunning 766 runs in the last series, which was a whopping 196 more than Australia’s leading batsman Michael Hussey. The Englishman will no doubt torment the Aussie’s once more and can be backed at just 11/4 to finish as England’s top batsman. Meanwhile, providing he is fit, Kevin Pietersen is always worth a punt at 7/2, while Jonathan Trott can be found at 4/1.
Australia skipper Michael Clarke has been in fine form with the bat, making him the obvious 2/1 frontrunner to finish as his country’s top runscorer. However, Shane Watson looks decent value at 11/2, with David Warner priced at 9/2.
As always the bowlers will receive a lot of attention. The exceptional James Anderson recently broke the 300 wicket barrier for England, and will be eager to better his fantastic total of 24 Down Under, with the pulsating pace bowler unsurprisingly the 16/8 favourite to end the series with the most wickets. Jimmy is followed by Graeme Swann at 11/4, while Stuart Broad is at 3/1.
James Pattinson, who will be making his Ashes debut, is the 5/2 favourite for the visitors. Peter Siddle looks like a decent bet at 3/1, while their top wicket-taker in the 2010 Series, Ryan Harris, is worth a punt at 11/2.
Odds quoted are from a variety of British bookamkers and taken from http://www.betting-directory.com/cricket/ashes-betting.php