Hawk Eye on the Australia v England Fourth ODI: Tourists have boundary edge

Finch's absence reduces Australia's four-hitting ability
Finch's absence reduces Australia's four-hitting ability
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Ed Hawkins provides a statistical preview for game four and uncovers some odds that are out of line with his spreadsheets

"In the last two years, England average just shy of four more fours per match than Australia. In the last three years they average 1.7 more fours per match than Australia. In this ODI series England have hit 74 to Australia’s 64"

In the last 12 months England's ODI batsmen have hit 474 fours. In 18 matches. Over the same period Australia have hit 279 fours in 27 matches. So England average 16 more fours per game than their counterparts.

That is a statistic which neatly sums up why England currently lead 3-0. And also why Australia have struggled to match English aggression. They were hoping they could just turn it on, which was precisely what England did following their 2015 World Cup horror show Down Under.

Glenn Maxwell, who knows a thing or two about hitting fours, has said that Australia need to reduce their "chill-out" time in ODI innings, going harder for longer. Perhaps if Maxwell was picked at No.3 instead of Cameron White, who has never quite convinced at this level, they might do just that.

Australia's 'four tally' is extraordinarily low over the study period. Pakistan (25 matches), India (23), South Africa (20), Bangladesh (19), Ireland and Zimbabwe (both 18) have all hit more.

In the last two years, England average just shy of four more fours per match than Australia. In the last three years they average 1.7 more fours per match than Australia. In this ODI series England have hit 74 to Australia's 64.

Aaron Finch, the powerful Australia opener, has been responsible for 22 of those. Finch will not play in Adelaide because of an injury. He will be replaced, most likely, by Travis Head on his home ground. Finch averages 3.8 fours per match in his career, Head 2.7.

Given all of the above, England, surely, should be favourites to hit more fours than Australia in this match. Betfair Sportsbook make Australia 5/6 favourites. England are even money and the tie is 14/1. There's not much to choose between them, granted, but it is far from irrational to believe that we have an edge.

It is still a surprising one. Not least because Sportsbook recognised their rick at pricing Australia as jollies to hit the most sixes per game. England have consistently out-struck their rivals in this department, too over the last three years.

Woakes underrated

Chris Woakes is having a terrific ODI series. He did not do so well in the Tests. It could be that England have discovered on this tour that Woakes is only worth persevering with in the shorter formats.

Yet, for our money, he has underperformed. Three matches in and Woakes, ordinarily so reliable, has failed to land top bowler honours. We covered Woakes' fine record in this market in the summer and we earmarked him for an interest again Down Under.

He is not having a bad time of it with the ball. On the contrary, he has picked up four wickets with a respectable economy rate of 5.48. Liam Plunkett, who is expected to miss out in Adelaide with injury, has four wickets as well. Adil Rashid is the leader of the pack with six.

In pure terms, we rate Woakes at 9/4 to cop. He is available at 10/3 with Betfair Sportsbook. That's a decent chunk in our favour.

Of his rivals, we respect them all. Mark Wood has terrific pace. Rashid, a former Striker in the Big Bash, will feel at home and he gets good turn while David Willey's left-arm offers variation. But all of them are too short in the betting compared to how often they actually win. They don't come close to Woakes.

Woakes, it has to be said, could look a little innocuous in comparison to the qualities of, say, Wood or Rashid. But he does clever things with the ball, rolling his fingers over the seam to bowl slower balls.

He also bowled well at Adelaide in the second Ashes Test, taking four wickets. That feelgood factor that he gets when he walks onto the turf should count for something.

Ironically, the Warwickshire man was at pains to point out that red-ball and white-ball cricket are "completely different". He is a good example. We probably wouldn't back Woakes for top bowler in Tests but he is unquestionably great value in ODI.

Hawk-Eye P-L

2018 - points p-l: +2.4 (10 points staked)
2017 - points p-l: +5.29 (26 points staked)

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