Hawk Eye on the Fifth Ashes Test: Warner and Cook back to basics
Ed Hawkins tries to unearth some value on the side markets and suggests historic form should hold for two batsmen in Sydney from Wednesday night
"How much store should we put in a venue record as opposed to a career record?"
David Warner often saves his best performances in home series for his home ground - the SCG. That suggests he is a player who plays with his heart on his sleeve and thrives on emotion. Family and friends are often cheering him on and so he responds.
Warner's record at the ground is excellent. In six Tests he averages just shy of 58. In four of his last five innings the opener has scored three centuries and a 50. But it is what he does in the first-innings that counts with the markets only interested in dig one. Top runscorer, 50, century and innings runs bets count first-innings only.
When you filter Warner's record at the SCG the first time he walks out to bat it moves from excellent to extraordinary. He averages 89 with three centuries and one 50 in six innings. With those numbers behind him he would, by most people's standards, rate as a value bet at [3.85] on the exchange for top runscorer. Not to mention the 10/3 with Sportsbook that he records a ton or the even money he lands a half-century.
It still leaves us with a number conundrum, however. How much store should we put in a venue record as opposed to a career record?
When you look at Warner's statistics throughout his 70 Tests, he rates as poor value on most markets. He lands a century 18.5 per cent of the time in first-innings meaning that more than 4/1 would be appropriate. He salutes for a half-ton 37 per cent of the time so even money is chronic.
A halfway house would be to bet Warner for over 39.5 runs at 5/6 (Sportsbook). Again, his career stats give him only a 37 per cent chance but overall he does average (not outs count) 48.4 in first-innings. And only twice in six innings has he not made the mark at the SCG.
Cook to revert to type
Alastair Cook has had a strange tour. He started it with a great weight on his shoulders as England's senior batsman and scores of 2, 7, 37, 16, 7 and 14 in the first three Tests suggested it was too much for him. Those runs, or lack of them, are a chief reason for England's horrible performance.
But in Melbourne Cook rolled back the years with an unbeaten 244. It was, statistically, most unexpected. He had passed 50 only three times in his previous 25 innings. So he is now viewed as some sort of Renaissance Man.
This column is not the place to debate whether Cook, arms and shoulders freed by a dead, meaningless match, had been a victim of pressure. But it would be reasonable to reckon that he will return to the status quo in Sydney.
Sportsbook offer 5/6 that he scores under 30.5 runs in the first-innings. He should be an 11/10 chance given that he beats the quote 47.6 per cent of the time.
There is also the Mitchell Starc factor. Starc did not play in Melbourne and had got Cook out twice previously in the series. Starc is expected to be fit after a bruised heel.
This is not so much a stand-out statistical anomaly as a wondering whether Sportsbook have paired the right trio in a first-innings runs match bet. Mitchell Marsh, it would seem, has very little to beat against Tim Paine and Jonny Bairstow.
Marsh is 13/8 for the most runs with Paine 2/1 and Bairstow 13/8. Marsh has had a tremendous series. The other two? Not so much. So far the all-rounder has 219 runs in three innings. Paine has 154 in five and Bairstow 263 in seven.
The same might be said of the unstoppable Steve Smith, of course. He is 6/4 to outscore David Warner and Alastair Cook, who are both 13/8.
2017 - points p-l: +5.29 (26 points staked)
To 1pt level stakes