Two spinners for Root’s England but Australia odds-on for Fifth Ashes Test
The Fifth and final Ashes Test gets underway tonight, with England looking to claim a much-needed victory.
Australia wrapped up the series and the Urn long ago, winning the first three Tests.
A draw in Melbourne last time out did ensure Joe Root’s Tourists wouldn’t suffer a second successive whitewash Down Under.
The final five-dayer takes place in Sydney, and the Baggy Greens are 8/13 favourites.
England are again the outsiders at 7/2, with another draw chalked up at the same price.
The SCG has been a reasonable venue for England over the years, claiming victory in 2011 and 2003.
Chris Woakes is injured, so Root is handing a Test debut to 20-year-old spin-bowler Mason Crane.
With the Sydney pitch expected to turn, Crane will team-up alongside Moeen Ali in providing two spin options.
The Hampshire youngster is 9/2 to cap off his first innings by taking the most wickets for the visitors.
With the bat, England will need former skipper Alastair Cook to continue the form he rediscovered in Melbourne.
Cook’s sensational 244 not out went a long way to ensuring the draw. The Essex opener is 10/3 to hit the most runs in England’s opening innings.
Root, no doubt disappointed by his 33.86 average with the bat during the Series, is 3/1 to make amends and top score.
As for the hosts, captain Steve Smith has lead by example. With a 141 not out in Brisbane and a 239 in Perth, he’s arguably done more than any other Aussie to swat the English challenge aside.
Smith – averaging 151 with the bat – is 9/4 to hit the most runs in Australia’s opening stint, and is 5/1 favourite to be named Man of the Match.
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All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing