Australia and England renew battle on Thursday when the two sides meet in the third Ashes Test in Perth. It will be an historic week for the famous old ground in the city as it stages Ashes cricket for the final time.
Australia go into the match knowing that if they win they regain the famous urn while England have to avoid defeat to keep their chances of retaining the urn alive so there is no shortage of things at stake in this third match.
Although Australia have gone 2-0 up in the series courtesy of their win in Adelaide they have not been completely convincing in the series and they will be hoping that England didn’t expose their weakness when they ran through them in the second innings of the previous match. One area the Aussies have excelled in has been with the ball.
They will need their quicks to step up and take on the mantle here because there isn’t a whole lot for spin on this ground but they have three quicks in decent enough form which is very much a positive. The difference between a positive and negative outcome from their point of view then will determine how well they bat.
England have gone 2-0 down in the series but they will be kicking themselves to be in that position. In both matches they have been in a good position but they have failed to exploit favourable positions and have paid the ultimate price. They really need to recognise the key moments and make sure they rise to the occasion in them.
If England are going to retain the Ashes then they are going to have to deliver a substantial improvement with the bat. To be fair their top order have dug in and repelled the attack at times but they have not scored the runs that they have needed and each time they look to be getting somewhere they do something stupid and throw all their good work away.
Australia are weighing up whether to bring Mitchell Marsh in for Peter Handscomb. They say they will make a decision on the morning of the match but that is a no brainer. Marsh will play.
England are going into battle unchanged although they will make a change to their batting order which will see Jonny Bairstow and Moeen Ali swapping positions which makes perfect sense.
The WACA has hosted 43 previous Test matches and as you would expect Australia have had a decent record here. They have won 24 matches and lost just 11 while there have been eight draws. England have a terrible record here. They’ve won just once in 13 attempts.
There is no hidden demons in this WACA pitch. It is good to bat on but the extreme pace and bounce that is in it will always keep the bowlers interested but in strong heat it can be tough on the bowlers. Usually matches here are high scoring.
There is said to be a chance of the odd shower on the last two days of this match which makes betting on the outcome a little more dangerous. The draw has been getting well backed but it would take a lot of rain for that to come to fruition. I expect a result. I’ll attack the side markets for bets here where there are three that I like.
The first two come in player performances. Pat Cummins has arguably been Australia’s player of the series so far and on this quick bouncy wicket I think he will get the rewards his efforts have deserved. He has bowled with enthusiasm and quality and his batting has been a real surprise. He is athletic in the field too so he has three genuine scoring options which should see him beyond 111.5pts.
Chris Woakes came good for me in the previous match when he bowled well in both innings and did his thing with the bat in the first knock and a repeat of that will see him go past 95.5pts. We only need an average of 25pts per innings from him and we saw in Adelaide that he is capable of a lot more than that so I’m happy to take his overs too.
Finally on his home ground I think it is worth backing Shaun Marsh to top score in the first innings for Australia. If his brother comes into the side, as I expect him to, then Marsh will move up the order giving him longer at the crease. He has first innings scores of 51 and 126* in the series so far and another score here would give him every chance of top scoring in a line up which is yet to fire on all cylinders.
WON – Back P.Cummins’ Performance – Over 111.5pts for a 4/10 stake at 1.83 with Paddy Power
Back C.Woakes’ Performance – Over 95.5pts for a 4/10 stake at 1.83 with Paddy Power
Back them here:
Back S.Marsh Top Australia 1st Inns Batsman for a 1/10 stake at 8.00 with Betfair
Back him here: