The Ashes series is all but over, with Australia completely dominating proceedings at The Oval. Paul Krishnamurty updates the state of play and discusses the remaining betting opportunities...
"If a result is possible at the end of play, an extra half hour can be claimed. Given that the Aussie bowlers' workload in the first innings has been light, I'm taking a chance that Clarke will go for a quick finish."
Latest Score: Australia 481, England 107-8
The final match of a test series, when the result has already been decided, is notoriously hard to predict. Will the winners take their foot off the gas? Will the losers be able to lift themselves and salvage some pride? Past Ashes series have seen both phenomena and this time, the latter is very clearly the case.
Having performed impeccably to take a decisive 3-1 lead, England's bowlers looked rather flat throughout the first innings and missed a great chance to regain some momentum after lunch. Australia's 481 looked a formidable target, for sure, but not necessarily a decisive one. After a miserable afternoon for the English batsmen, it does now and as a consequence, we are set for yet another short match, with Michael Clarke ending his magnificent career on a winning note.
England need a miracle just to avoid the follow-on from this position, although it remains to be seen whether Clarke will enforce it. He's generally been inclined to give his bowlers a rest over the years, but an indifferent weather forecast for Sunday and Monday may force his hand.
With the match result virtually beyond doubt, the live markets left to consider involve innings runs, top batsmen and Test Match End. In the latter, [3.2] about the match finishing tomorrow will be great value if Clarke does indeed enforce the follow-on.
Remember, if a result is possible at the end of play, an extra half hour can be claimed. Given that the Aussie bowlers' workload in the first innings has been light, I'm taking a chance that Clarke will go for a quick finish.