Latest Score: Australia 287-3
At the end of what has been an Ashes series of historically short matches, punters holding tickets for the final day at least look likely to see some action after only three wickets fell on day one. Likewise, Australian fans will be mightily relieved to have made progress on the opening day, having suffered ignominious collapses in their last two first innings.
David Warner's 85 plus an unbeaten 78 from Steve Smith left the tourists in pole position, although with the pitch seemingly full of runs, anything less than 450 would still leave England very much in the hunt. The last three second innings totals at The Oval were 486, 377 and 637-2 declared.
The current market affords the Aussies great respect, rating their par score around 500. However, for a team whose last four innings totals were 253, 60, 265 and 136, that confidence is hard to make an evidential case for. The new ball will be available first thing in the morning and the forecast is mostly overcast again. Another middle and late order collapse is perfectly feasible and, if the new ball brings a couple of wickets, they could realistically fall short of 400.
For the reasons laid out above, the value bets at this stage are on England. First, my advice is to lay a couple of bands in the Australia 1st Inns Runs market - 450 plus at [1.4] and 475 plus at [1.7].
Secondly, England are well worth a speculative trade at [10.5] to win the match. With only pride to play for and overcast conditions forecast throughout the match, the draw looks no sort of value at [2.7].
As the game goes on, expect both teams to attack, declaring to try and force a result if necessary. Unless they have a bad second day, England will probably trade a lot shorter than these odds at some stage. Rather than place a lay order yet, I'll update this position after tomorrow's play.