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Ashes Betting: Time to face facts and back the whitewash

Joe Root's gone and England are toast
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Joe Root says England's performance in Adelaide is cause for optimism but Ralph Ellis has become a glass half-empty man...

"It’s no surprise that Australia are now as short as [1.06] to win the series. But I think it’s time to face reality and grab the [3.3] for a 5-0 series whitewash while it is still there."

Back in the days when they charged people ten pounds for an assisted package to emigrate to Australia, they used to call it the land of opportunity.

For England's cricketers it still should be exactly that, the place where somebody can earn a worldwide reputation just as Alastair Cook did in 2010, or John Snow did in 1970.

In the most challenging series for any English cricketer, facing Australia in Australia, you are looking for a player who in the same way will grow into the series and become a leader. Sadly England haven't found one.

Getting up at 3am this morning to watch the final day from Adelaide always seemed like it could be a mistake. You felt it had to be done, just in case you would witness arguably the finest Test win in the country's history, but feared it would end in disappointment.

And that's how it turned out. I'd barely finished buttering a piece of toast to take to the sofa when both Chris Woakes and Joe Root were out, and you knew then you'd be better off going back to bed.

Credit to my Betting.Betfair colleague Paul Krishnamurty who saw through the optimism to recommend laying England to reach 300. But no credit at all to the England batsmen who ensured his bet was comfortably a winner.

I thought England might do well this Ashes winter. I felt we had a promising team with a few question marks but that the Australians were just as much unknowns.

I still don't think that was so wrong. Australia are only a bit better than England. The problem is we keep doing things to make them a lot better, and it is hard to see how that changes.

With Perth coming up, where even the triumphant 2010-11 tourists got rolled over for 187 then 123, it's no surprise that Australia are now as short as [1.06] to win the series. But I think it's time to face reality and grab the [3.3] for a 5-0 series whitewash while it is still there.

Joe Root, bless him, remains full of optimism. "Last night and leading into that we showed the side we actually are," he claimed of the sessions when England bowled Australia out and then batted well under lights to give themselves hope.

The problem really, though, is that it was in the first session of day five when we really got reminded about the sort of side that England actually are - always a wicket away from a collapse, and not capable at this level of sustaining top form across more than a few sessions.

I was interested to see that Graeme Swann this morning is claiming the pressure of captaincy is affecting Root's batting and is the reason he isn't converting 50s into 100s. I'm not sure that's right. I think it is the pressure of knowing that if he doesn't make runs, nobody will.

While England's players have failed to seize the moment, Australia have got people who are getting better. Nathan Lyon is bowling as well as he has in his career, while Shaun Marsh who seemed such an odd selection has 196 runs and is now the series top run scorer. (Interestingly you can back him at [20.0] to stay there).

Australia are making it the land of opportunity and, after Perth, might offer a £10 assisted package back home.

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