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Expect Swann to perform on a pitch that doesn’t conjure up many runs

| 31.12.2010

It’s a Test ground that has hosted 103 Ashes innings over 53 Tests, but the Sydney Cricket Ground has never been one for the batsman.

The batting side has only ever managed to surpass 400 runs in 11 of the 103 innings, and Graeme Swann and Steve Smith will be eagerly anticipating the encounter.

Since England last emerged from a tour Down Under victorious in 1987, spinners have taken 44% (101 of the 232) of the wickets on the SCG pitch, including 35 of the 40 in the 1987 Test match.

Smith is a huge price at 8/1 to be Australia’s leading first innings wicket-taker, but Michael Beer, the other spinner in the Australia squad is 5/1, suggesting the debutant may play a part in the match.

But the value is in backing Graeme Swann who is yet to impress in Australia on wickets that have either favoured the batsman or the seam bowlers.

The Sydney wicket is perfect for Swann and at 3/1 to be England’s top series wicket-taker, he offers plenty of value considering he is just four wickets behind Anderson in the race for the accolade.

However, with the Australian attack failing miserably in this series, punters would be better off backing Swann at 7/2 to be the top series wicket-taker as it seems it’s a battle between the England attack for that title.

Swann is also favourite at 10/1 to be the man of the match in the fifth Test, and his wickets can guide England to a famous Ashes victory over Australia and they are 11/8 to win the fifth Test in Sydney.

Australia are as big as 9/4 and demolished England the last time they entered an Ashes Test as underdogs, and this fifth Test could prove to be an epic battle.

A £10 bet on Swann being man of the match would return £110. New customers can sign up here for a free £10 bet.



Robbie Morris

Robbie studied sports journalism at the University of Gloucestershire, an establishment chosen for its proximity to Cheltenham racecourse, where he was a season ticket holder. Upon graduation, Robbie was a contributor to GolfPunk, a national magazine aimed at ridding golf of its traditionalist image, before joining the news.ladbrokes team.