After England's bid for victory was frustrated by rain at the MCG, the fourth test will boil down to one long day and could well go the wire. Paul Krishnamurty updates and has one new bet to recommend...
"With multiple routes to winning the bet, laying Australia to reach 300 - it was last matched at 1.6 - looks a much better way of getting behind England than the main result market."
Latest score: Australia 327 & 103-2, England 491
The good news from Melbourne is that, barring a near-miracle, England will avoid a humiliating 5-0 series whitewash. The bad news, however, is that the weather has intervened and significantly reduced their chance of landing a morale-boosting victory. Only 44 overs were bowled yesterday, leaving the visitors a tough task to take the final eight Aussie wickets and chase down a target.
A total of 98 overs are now scheduled for the final day and England really cannot afford to lose any more time. As shown by the three forecasts linked below, that is far from certain. There is some rain around in the Melbourne area and, while showers may be fleeting, there's a high chance we will get one or two during the afternoon.
It is, nevertheless, too early to write this match off as a draw. Time and time again, we have seen the draw turned over from very short odds on the final day of test matches, following a spate of quick wickets. Granted, this docile pitch is not very conducive to that end but remember, England have already skittled the Aussie tail once in this match.
For me, this is ultimately about what will be a long morning session. The top two Aussie batsmen, Steve Smith and David Warner, are at the crease, with in-form Shaun Marsh next. If England can dismiss two of them fairly quickly, they can definitely win the game.
In Mitchell Starc's absence, the Aussie tail is longer than usual with Pat Cummins due to come in at eight. If England can consistently build up pressure, another collapse is realistic. They are still odds-on to reach 300 - which would leave England a target of 136 - but I think that run line is too high.
With victory surely now out of range, Australia have little incentive to be anything other than ultra-defensive. So far they have scored at just 2.64. Even if maintaining that run-rate, it would take them 75 overs to reach 300, leaving England a maximum of 21 overs to chase 136. Alternatively if this innings rate continues at a paltry 2.34, it would take 84 overs, leaving England a dozen at most.
Of course we may not get that many overs in the day if the weather intervenes or England could bowl them out for less than 300. Therefore with multiple routes to winning the bet, laying Australia to reach 300 - it was last matched at [1.6] - looks a much better way of getting behind England than the main result market.
Finally let's recap our previous and existing positions. We secured a profit on earlier draw positions and, as explained in yesterday's update, reinvested in England at [2.18], before the rain came. The stats listed below are slightly worse than the live bets advised on Twitter - all positions are 1.5 units better. We also made over three units on England runs and, before this innings started, I risked a further 0.75 unit on Australia scoring less than 200.
Profit/loss on outright bets already advised
England: +13.44 units
Draw: -4 units
Australia -4 units