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With Ashes lost, can England batsmen recover for future?

| 29.12.2013

Punters placing bets on England’s top series runscorer before the start of the Ashes wouldn’t have expected the market leader to behind five Australians after four tests.

But that’s the position Kevin Pietersen finds himself in with 285 runs down under – enough to make him England’s leading scorer but less than Aussies Warner, Haddin, Clarke, Rogers and Watson.

Ian Bell was the top runscorer in the summer Ashes but the Warwickshire man has managed just less than half his average from the 3-0 series win in England in Australia thus far.

His duck in the second innings of the fourth test at the MCG was a new low point for England’s sorry batting as the tourists squandered a good position gained by dismissing runaway series run leader David Warner for single figures.

While it is tempting to write off the final test at Sydney, England need a good performance to set a marker for the future – particularly from their batsmen.

Forced to follow on in the first test in India in November 2012, Alastair Cook produced a magnificent 176. It was nowhere near enough to save the match which the home side won by eight wickets, but it rallied the side and they went on to win the next two tests and secure a famous series victory.

With Cook signalling his intent to continue as captain, Sydney provides a perfect opportunity to set out his stall for future recovery on the ground where he enjoyed arguably the finest moment of his career – a score of 189 as England secured the Ashes on their last trip to Australia.

Cook is 53 runs behind Kevin Pietersen in England top series runscorer market so a good score could put him back in contention. You can back the captain at 3/1.

Pietersen’s closest competitor in the series run market is Michael Carberry. The Surrey opener had played only one test before the Ashes and has clearly struggled with a lack of experience at this level.

But he’ll still be looking to stake his claim for a long term place in England’s future by getting close to his series high of 60. Carberry is 4/1 in the series runscorer market.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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Joseph Barnsley