Ed Hawkins: Expect more woe for Lehmann and back Birmingham in the Blast

Joe Root was right to declare when he did, says Ed
Joe Root was right to declare when he did, says Ed

In his latest look at the week in cricket, Ed Hawkins assesses the Aussie chances of a comeback, Joe Root's declaration and what's hot for the T20 Blast Finals Day...

"At least Lehmann recognised that the tide was turning. And in defence of his team he made salient points which, among the wailing and gnashing of teeth, would most probably have been lost"

Recommended Bet
Lay Australia at 2.111/10 (3pts)

Australia no 2.111/10 shots in Second Test

Darren Lehmann, the Australia coach, and his players have been savaged by Australia media in the wake of their chastening first Test defeat by Bangladesh. The poor lambs. He said his players were hurting.

And as well they might with the loss Australia's first in a Test to Bangladesh. The Aussies are known for being hubristic and this cataclysmic result was an affront to the national heritage and culture. "Aww look mate, it's a ******* disgrace."

The Aussies, collectively (and this goes for most on this earth) do not do rational thought. If they did, they might find it easier to come to terms with. Yes, historically Australia are the greatest superpower. And Bangladesh are a minnow, a bottom feeder. They had won nine times in 100 attempts.

At least Lehmann recognised that the tide was turning. And in defence of his team he made salient points which, among the wailing and gnashing of teeth, would most probably have been lost.

He made some terrific points about this Australia team. They are young, inexperienced. Naifs even. Five of them had played fewer than ten Test matches. Bangladesh, he said, were not the whipping boys of old. They are fiercely competitive. He also said that few teams win away from home these days. And, finally, he wanted a team for all conditions.

"You are trying to look for that all-round player that can actually adapt in all conditions so you don't have to keep chopping and changing with horses for courses."

All of these are bang on. The last one more than any other. Australia can't play spin. Never have been able to. Probably never will. It's just not their way of life in the same way it's not in Bangladesh's make-up to thrive on fast, bouncy tracks.

The coach's notes also provide a checklist for why Australia, surely, cannot possibly win in Chittagong from Monday. Lehmann has, maybe unwittingly, prepared the ground for another beating.

Australia are favourites to win. It is an example of the market being wholly unaware of the weaknesses Lehmann has raised. In short, the 2.111/10 is a price that stinks the place out. They would drift slightly if they had to bat last but it's as solid a lay as you've seen, even if there is no historic toss bias.

Bangladesh are 3.9 with the draw 3.45. A poor weather forecast suggests the latter will get much shorter.

Recommended Bet
Lay Australia at 2.111/10 (3pts)

Root spot on

Perversely, England became a more value-laden team because of defeat by West Indies at Headingley. Why? Well, because of the 'early' declaration by Joe Root, the skipper.

With hindsight it was, of course, the wrong decision. But statistically and historically it was right. After a litany of England captains who have batted on too long in the third innings - Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook both frustratingly negative - it was refreshing to see Root recognise that the risks were minimal.

Unfortunately his bowlers let him down. But more often than not, England might win more than they draw because of Root's attitude which is nothing more than rational. He will be called gung-ho and attacking. But he's just using a bit of common.

Last Blast chance

Finals Day is upon us for the Blast. It takes a few months to get here, which rather suggests the competition's nickname is a misnomer. But no matter, it promises to be a great betting heat.
Nottinghamshire are jollies at 2.8815/8 followed by Birmingham (or Warwickshire if you like) at 4.03/1, Hampshire at 4.1 and Glamorgan the rags at 5.59/2.

Ordinarily we would reckon Glamorgan were the value. They were by far the best team in South group and deserve more respect. They have been priced up at such a figure because they are unfashionable.
Yet we will swerve them. We are worried about their bowling which is about as economical as the Waitrose fizz aisle. Instead it is Birmingham, their semi-final opponents, who we like.

It could be they are the most all-round team left. They can bat a bit, bowl a bit. Notts are not that team. Their bowling has consistently been expensive and it could cost them at the last.


Jamie Pacheco takes an in-depth look at T20 Finals Day

Ed Hawkins P-L

2017: +24.99pts
2016: +18.1pts
2015: +38pts
2014: +31.5pts
2013: +25pts
Based only on available prices. Does not include back-to-lay in-running match advice or commission rate. Figures 2013-2016 on 1pt level stakes. New points system (0.5pt-5) introduced for 2017.
*Follow Ed on Twitter @cricketbetting

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