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Ashes Betting: Australia are in trouble and it won't get easier

Lots of worries mate...Michael Clarke faces tough decisions

"The Aussies have been obliterated in two Tests so far, haven’t a single spin bowler worthy of the name, don’t have a strong enough support in the pace department for the promising James Pattinson, and none of the top four average more than 30."

Australia have got a week to lick their wounds after getting thrashed by an innings in India but Ralph Ellis reckons things will only get worse for Michael Clarke's men...

My Grandad loved a bet. I can remember turning up at his flat in Greenwich when he was in his 90s and finding him sat at the kitchen table, Guinness poured, with The Sporting Life open and a series of red rings around his chosen horse in each race.

His mantra was to always study the form and the going in detail before choosing where to put your hard-earned. Beyond that he only had one rule: "Never back against the Australians because they always end up winning."

I wonder what he'd make of the current mess that Michael Clarke's side are struggling through in India. He'd have enjoyed the Tweets coming out from Betfair ambassador Michael Vaughan since the catastrophic innings defeat in the second Test - for example: "What do you call an Aussie with a 100 by his name - a bowler."

Clearly there are a lot of people still using my Grandad's rule in their betting, because there's no other reason why India should not be odds-on to win again in Mohali in the third Test in a week's time. Instead they are 2.35/4 which, even on a wicket which tends to give a bit more help to quick bowlers, looks amazing value. And you'd think the price for them to rebound with a win should be at least double the 4.84/1 on offer this morning.

The Aussies have been obliterated in two Tests so far, haven't a single spin bowler worthy of the name, don't have a strong enough support in the pace department for the promising James Pattinson, and none of the top four average more than 30. Clarke himself has scored some runs, with a century in Chennai and then 91 in amid the rubble of the rest of the innings in Hyderabad - but his response to the problems will be to move himself up the order and that will bring its own troubles.

As a skipper he is clearly not well liked in his dressing room - and he won't have become any more popular by his reaction to Shane Watson's run of low scores (23,9,28,17). Asked how he could translate his one-day form into the Test arena, Clarke just said: "I don't know, you'll have to ask Watto that." Thanks for the support, mate.

It seems the Aussies are playing so much limited overs cricket in its various formats that they are losing the art of building a Test innings. These results haven't come in isolation, I know they rolled over Sri Lanka at home around Christmas time, but before that was a series defeat in South Africa and they haven't been a force since getting so thoroughly obliterated in the last Ashes series.

Ah, the Ashes. Right now this coming summer is an appealing thought from an England perspective. The next few days will tell us a bit about whether Alastair Cook's team have the temperament to build on their historic series win in India, but the strength in depth which appears to be developing couldn't be in greater contrast to the problems facing Australia. We have Joe Root knocking down the door to break into the side, the Aussies are searching for any new option to give them a glimmer of hope.

England are anywhere up to 1.594/7 in the early market to win the Ashes series this summer. Given the current state of both countries I think even Grandad might have been tempted to lump on.

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06 March 2013

England Cricket


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