The third Ashes test begins on Thursday and Australia look well placed to continue their dominance over England in the series. They beat them comfortably at The Gabba and the Adelaide Oval to take a 2-0 lead, and can have the best of five series wrapped up with two tests to spare if they win in Perth. England have thus far been unable to cope with the pace and aggression of the Australia attack and their batsmen have been inconsistent. The bowlers have also blown hot and cold, and Australia have been far more dependable all round. England miss Ben Stokes and they have struggled to deal with the psychological warfare launched by the hosts via merciless sledging.
“Let’s be brutally honest: for the all the upbeat talk from our players and the hopes and expectations from our supporters, Australia are better than us,” said Geoffrey Boycott. “The Ashes are gone. We are not coming back from 2-0 down. England will have a massive job avoiding a 5-0 thrashing.”
When Stokes was suspended and banned from taking part in the series while he is investigated by police for assault, England fans rushed online to back Australia to win 5-0. The odds were 9/1 at the time, but England had previous in this department. The last time they played a series Down Under, they suffered a whitewash, and they are heading towards another one if they do not buck their ideas up quickly. You can now get 5/2 on Australia winning the series 5-0 with Stan James and that looks really attractive. There is always the danger that they might go 3-0 up and then take a foot off the pedal as they have already sewn up a series win, but this Australia team looks fired up and desperate to annihilate England.
Off-spinner Nathan Lyon promised to “end the careers” of England players before the series and he has started to live up to such fighting talk. However, Mitchell Starc looks a good bet at 11/5 with Bet Victor to finish as the top Australian bowler at The Waca this week. England have an elongated and weak tail in Stokes’ absence and Starc has been merrily tearing through it. He was the chief antagonist for England in their last 5-0 collapse Down Under and he has got under their skin again.
Alastair Cook is having the tour from hell, while Joe Root has failed to inspire his troops with his own batting. James Vince saved England in the first innings at The Gabba after Cook’s failure, but he has since flopped too. None of the England batsmen are in the sort of form that will worry Australia, while Steve Smith, Dave Warner and Shaun Marsh have been superb. Warner looks interesting at 10/3 with Sky Bet to finish as the top Australian batsman in the third test as he is due a big knock.
It is hard to look past Australia winning this third test and William Hill and various others have cricket betting odds 8/15, while Marathon Bet has 11/20 on that outcome. They have been utterly dominant so far. Every time England look like staging a comeback, they are crushed in brutal fashion. The home team has won six of the last seven Ashes series and England have really struggle to adapt to the foreign environs, passionate crowds and treacherous conditions. If you fancy them to win you can get 15/4 with 888 Sport, but that looks extremely optimistic right now. A better option might be the 5/2 that William Hill and Betfred are offering on James Anderson being England’s top bowler. He is ranked number one in the world and is the tourists’ one shining light at the moment, so he will be central to their chances after his inspired showing in the second innings in Adelaide.