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Miserable England batting almost certainly hands Australia 5-0 victory

| 01.01.2014

England endured yet another Ashes nightmare at the hands of Australia after some truly woeful batting saw the tourists bowled out for a meagre 155. This left them 171 runs behind before the hosts closed the day on 140-4, extending their lead to 311.

Reining in such a target will be difficult for a team who have only scored more than 311 runs in three innings this series, so those taking the plunge on England’s in-play odds of 10/1 would be better served flicking their pennies in a wishing well.

A punt in the runscorer markets would be a much wiser alternative and with Chris Rogers winding up on 73 not out at stumps, the 5/6 that says he’ll fall short of the 96.5-run line is an appealing proposition.

Only one Aussie opener has topped this mark in four Tests with England in Sydney, while Rogers himself has had issues converting half centuries into huge scores. For his 11 Test caps he’s crossed the 50 threshold an impressive seven times, but has only gone on to top 96.5 runs on two occasions, including just once in Australia.

With 13 wickets tumbling on the second day’s play on a pitch offering variable bounce, a similar sort of frenzy is anticipated for day three so back Rogers to miss out once more.

England’s collapse from 8-1 to 23-4 inside the first hour of the morning provided the perfect microcosm of the series from their point of view and, from a batting perspective especially, there’s very little for the Three Lions to be optimistic about.

Ben Stokes’ efforts have provided the faintest of glimmers though, and with his odds to top England’s batting card when they’re tasked to chase down the hosts’ target standing at 7/1, there could be some money to be made here.

With the three favourites in this market – Kevin Pietersen, Alastair Cook (both 7/2) and Ian Bell (4/1) – well out of form, an outsider such as Stokes could provide a good value alternative.

The three senior batsmen have been the most disappointing, with only Pietersen averaging north of 30 and, while Stokes isn’t exactly piling the runs on, he is the only player to rack up more than a ton in England white this series and has out-scored his peers on two separate instances.

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

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James Middleton