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First Test defeat inevitable, but England can still regain the Ashes

| 25.11.2013

England may be staring down the barrel of an opening Ashes Test defeat after closing day three 536 runs behind the hosts and two wickets down in their second innings, but the time is now back the Three Lions to retain the little urn.

The tourists can be backed at a healthy-looking 1/1 for a fourth retention of cricket’s most coveted prize Down Under; their price lengthening after a dismal showing at the Gabba.

With 1/33-rated Australia in total command, Alastair Cook’s men are monstrous 50/1 underdogs to chase down their colossal target but, given the way they’ve batted thus far, punters would surely need a much beefier offering to force their hand.

A more tempting alternative would be to side with England to retain at even money or, better yet, get on the 12/5 available for them to overcome this inevitable deficit and win the series.

The Three Lions have grown accustomed to struggling out of the traps in Ashes series, having won only one curtain-raiser against the old enemy in nine attempts.

This solo victory came at Trent Bridge in the most recently concluded northern hemisphere instalment and, in spite of this shortage of first Test wins, England have won three of the last four Anglo-Aussie five-match dust ups.

Further cause to hush the panic merchants is that England very rarely experience joy in Brisbane, having not won any of the previous six, soon to be seven, Tests contested there, losing four times by exceptionally heavy margins.

England’s hopes of series success can also be boosted by the fact that, when massively unfancied in India last year, they prevailed over four Tests having surrendered defeat in the first match of the series.

They’ll need to show similar fight and resoluteness if they are to get back into this current series after the pounding they’ve been dealt in the opener, but all is far from lost for the tourists.

All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date

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James Middleton