Ashes Day Two Tips: Robinson a refresher in mismatch

Joe Root
Root and England are chastened

Ed Hawkins has the best betting advice and wagers for day two from the MCG as England slump again...

"Robinson has been England’s best bowler in the series. If it bends, he's dangerous. If it doesn't he's proven he can bowl consistent line and length"

(0.25pts) Back Ollie Robinson top England wicket-taker 4.57/2

England gone at the game

What is their left to say about this Ashes contest? Perhaps that it is not one. Australia won their eighth day out of nine in the series. From 1.594/7 before a ball was bowled they are now 1.152/13. England are 13.012/1. The hosts are 1.021/50 to win the series.

Day one at the 'G was still instructive, however. We can be as categoric about the temperature of this heat - there's more warmth in Siberia - as we can England's collective mental state. They are absolutely shot.

That's a bigger call than many would reckon. Getting into the heads of a team can be notoriously risky because one can never be truly sure what is going on between the ears. England, however, are suffering from a cacophonic maelstrom between the lug holes.

Let's look at the wickets of Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow for proof. Root wafted, Buttler walloped straight up, Stokes angled helpfully to gully and Bairstow looked petrified by pace (nothing new there to be fair).

Let's also look at those wickets with Root's pre-match words ringing in our ears. Be brave. But don't make mistakes. Contradictory, calamitous advice from a man whose leadership must surely be brought to an end after the tour.

One cannot be brave and cautious. Bravery, by its nature, requires an element of risk. Or, in other words, freedom. If you want batsmen to be brave you must remove the fear of a mistake. Otherwise they stay on the sidelines and watch someone else run into the burning building.

England do not have a plan with the bat. And we should bet accordingly. When England bat again plan for cheap lays on over 120, 130 and 140. We're also looking to short Bairstow runs.

Stat of the day

This was the eighth time since 2018 that England have been bowled out for under 200 in the first match innings. They have lost five and drawn one. Their one victory came against Ireland. Which may be their level.

Robinson to the fore

A bit more bad news for England? The weather forecast is not nearly as good for bowling on day two. There's some cloud but a less than 10% chance of rain.

On those seven occasions when England have been rolled, their bowlers have shown reasonable gumption, though. The totals conceded read: 278-145-207-306-363-427.

There's a tendency to reckon Australia's runs are pitched too high at 376.5. Just because England can't bat, doesn't mean the likes of James Anderson and Ollie Robinson can't get something from the surface.

Robinson, although a wicket behind, looks a fair wager at 7/2 to be top England wicket-taker. He has been England's best bowler in the series. If it bends, he's dangerous. If it doesn't he's proven he can bowl consistent line and length.

It's an important point. Going under at 376.5 doesn't mean we're backing England for a resurgence. We just backing them to be slightly less than mediocre. Australia are still utterly dominant with 290 all out, 327 all out and so on. You take the point.

Australia have thrice dismissed teams for under 200 in the last five years. They followed up with totals of: 425-323-276. The 425 was, of course, in Brisbane. You can bet runs here.

Finally, our match preview was strong on the 9/5 that either Steve Smith or Marnus Labuschagne scored a ton in first-innings. We've not seen anything to reckon that we've made a mistake. Read more here.

Ashes series day wins tally

Australia 8 England 1

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