As Australia look set for another huge first innings lead at the SCG, Paul Krishnamurty updates the markets ahead of day three of the final Ashes test...
"About the time England are fancied to start their second innings, 150 or so behind - they will have to cope with uneven bounce and a lot more turn...There is little to deter big-hitters at 1.35. It is hard to see how Australia's odds drift much."
Latest score: England 346, Australia 193-2
Hopes that England would salvage some pride from this final Ashes test are fading fast after Australia built upon the momentum gained in the closing overs of day one. The likelihood of an England victory according to Betfair markets has fallen to just 10% from an earlier peak of 36%. In fact without comprehensively winning day three, this won't even be vaguely close.
There is very little to suggest improvement tomorrow. The pitch - at this stage of the match at least - is another road, offering very little encouragement for the bowlers. Despite an immediate breakthrough that reduced the hosts to 1-1, the key Aussie batsmen dominated in much the same fashion that we saw when racking up over 650 in Perth. Neither of their two subsequent partnerships - 85 and an unbeaten 107 - were overly risky and they'll have a similar score in their sights.
The bad news for England is that by the time they come to bat again, conditions will be worsening. The SCG notoriously offers turn later in the game and this pitch is being baked in the heat. I reckon by lunch on day four - precisely about the time England are fancied to start their innings, 150 or so behind - they will have to cope with uneven bounce and a lot more turn. Furthermore, Australia have the bowlers to exploit it.
Nothing, therefore, has altered the match trajectory predicted yesterday - for England to be bowled out late on day four. If you haven't yet backed Day 4 Afternoon and Evening in our Test Match End market, the odds are still around the same mark at 8.0 and 6.2 respectively.
As for the outright market, Australia's odds have shortened from the 1.69 advised and I could barely be more confident. I'm loathe to tip up heavily odds-on bankers in this column but there is little to deter big-hitters at 1.35. Even if they undershoot first innings expectations - they're currently odds-on to lead by more than 150 - it is hard to see how these odds about the favourite drift much.
Regarding other markets, it was with great relief that I managed to get out of the England's innings level after some poorly timed decisions that would, left unamended, have resulted in a 12 unit loss! If you want to see precisely how those trades panned out, check out this Twitter thread. One bet was advised on Australia 1st Innings Runs and the odds have since shortened from 2.38 to 1.3. I'm not covering it.
No need, therefore, to add any new bets to my staking plan. I am still also holding a five unit bet on the draw at 4.3, which will hopefully be dumped soon, either flat or taking a small loss. As always, I'll update these positions on Twitter.
If, however, you are looking for a new position ahead of day four, backing Australia to post a huge total may be best. There is no reason for them to declare, given the state of the game and fact they would have to bat last. To reach the 525 mark - currently rated around 2.35 - is well within range.
Bets already advised
Back Australia to win the 5th Test 10u @ 1.69
Back Day Four Afternoon in Test Match End 3u @ 8.0
Back Day Four Evening in Test Match End 4u @ 6.2