England v Australia Fourth ODI Betting: Toss is the key at Headingley

Mitchell Starc's place in the Australia side could be in doubt
Mitchell Starc's place in the Australia side could be in doubt

Ed Hawkins, who tipped England to win in Manchester, is back to preview another must-win clash for the hosts at Headingley on Friday

"Winning the toss and batting will be a no-brainer on a reasonably sunny day. We expect the side batting first to rack up a big one."

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England v Australia
Start time: Friday, 10:30
TV: Live on Sky Sports


England kept themselves alive in the series with a comprehensive victory at Old Trafford. But they are in another must-win contest to take it to a decider in Manchester on Sunday.

To keep momentum going they may have to be ruthless and drop some established names who are just not performing. Alex Hales and Ben Stokes look the most vulnerable.

Hales' run of poor scores is becoming a concern and he has only two fifties in 17 attempts. He is yet to make more than 22 in the series. Stokes is similarly out of touch.

It has been a long summer for the Durham all-rounder and it looks as though it has taken its toll on his batting. His last seven 'out' scores across all formats read: 14-10-13-15-0-5-0.

Replacing Stokes with the left-arm David Willey should strengthen England because they lose nothing with the bat - Willey is actually a very powerful striker - and gain with the ball considering the variation.

Moeen Ali could be promoted to open instead of Hales with Sam Billings slotting in further down. An injury to Chris Woakes has ruled him out of the series so Willey could play in his place. Reece Topley and Mark Wood also stand by.


Australia have fixed their injury problems by replacing David Warner with the explosive Aaron Finch and Ashton Agar, the spinner, replacing pacer Nathan Coulter-Nile.

But can Australia resist the urge to make a tweak that looks unnecessary in terms of fitness? Mitchell Starc, a former Yorkshire player, has not looked at his best and is another one who could be feeling the impact of such a long tour. He went for almost eight an over at Old Trafford and has taken only four wickets in the series at 42 each.

The tourists could bring in all-rounder John Hastings and rely on young guns Pat Cummins - mightily impressive so far with eight victims - and James Pattinson to do the damage with the new ball.

First-innings runs

There have been only six ODIs played at Headingley since 2006. Bowlers will be perfectly happy about that as the pitch has been full of runs. The average first-innings score in those matches is 303. More than 300 has been breached three times and the lowest score was England's 275/4 against South Africa in 2008. We would expect 300 to be busted again.

Match odds

Australia have only twice lost consecutive matches in a two-team series in the last two years. Against England it has happened twice since high summer of 2010.

That gives you some idea of what England are up against. Do the odds reflect that? Not really. England's price has collapsed in the last two games and they are now as short as 2.1411/10. Australia are 1.855/6.

It is true that England were fortunate to have made the most of a very dry and turning surface at Old Trafford and had they batted second the series could well be over.

There is a slight toss bias at Headingley. Four of the last six have been won by the side batting first. One of the exceptions was when Sri Lanka chased England's 321 without breaking sweat. It was a freak result against a freakishly bad England side.

Winning the toss and batting will be a no-brainer on a reasonably sunny day. We expect the side batting first to rack up a big one.

So although we consider Australia value pre-toss, England could post a commanding total which may see them buckle under scoreboard pressure. Back the side batting first in this one.

Top England runscorer

There is very little ground form to write home about. Hales, 4.94/1, has played one List A match and scored four, Moeen, 12.011/1, two (average 17) while James Taylor, ton up last tie and a 5.04/1 shot, and Jason Roy, 5.24/1, are making their first appearances. The 4.84/1 chance Eoin Morgan's four games have produced an average of 22. Could homeboy Jonny Bairstow be value at 10.09/1?

Top Australia runscorer

Despite being a Yorkshire overseas player Finch has never played a List A game at Headingley and only three first-class matches. In those he didn't do anything special. He did look in great touch in game three and could be worth a follow at 4.67/2 on a good pitch. Steve Smith is too short at 3.814/5.

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Ed Hawkins P/L

2015: +£335.60
2014: +315.10
2013: +250.80
To £10 level stakes (unless otherwise stated), based only on available prices. Does not include back-to-lay in-running match advice or commission rate.
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