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Fourth Ashes Test Betting: Australia have shot at resurgence

Coach Darren Lehmann and Clarke are under pressure
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Ed Hawkins, with ten winners from his last 12 tips, previews the crucial contest in Nottingham and he fears for England without the skill of James Anderson...

"It will be fascinating to see if Clarke holds his nerve and bats first if he calls correctly after he was trashed for doing so at Edgbaston"

Recommended Bets
Lay England for 350 or more first-innings runs at [2.1]
Back Australia if they bat first at around [1.95]

England v Australia
Start time: 11.00
TV: live on Sky Sports

England
Despite being 2-1 up with two to play, England could hardly be described as 'sitting pretty'. They have a wealth of problems. Indeed, so many do they have to solve that it is an indictment on Australia that it is they who are not ahead.

Adam Lyth and Jos Buttler cannot buy a run while Jonny Bairstow remains unproven in the middle order. And then there is the absence of James Anderson, England's greatest wicket-taker.

Anderson is, of course, irreplaceable. But England may not even be able to pick first reserve in Mark Wood who has been struggling with an injury. Left-armer Mark Footitt, untried and untested, could come in. Liam Plunkett also stands by.

It is hardly an ideal situation for a team hoping to banish inconsistency. After each of England's last four Test victories they have lost the very next game.


Australia
Australia are under pressure and their media has wasted no time in criticising them for such a lacklustre show so far. Chief target has been Michael Clarke, the captain, with calls being made for him to step down.

Clarke, however, is only 34 and needs a score to end speculation. He is averaging just 18 in the series with a highest score of 38.

They will make changes. Adam Voges, who averages 14, looks set to lose his place to Shaun Marsh. Marsh has two tons on tour. Mitchell Starc's place is under threat from Peter Siddle. The latter would offer more control and is a bowler not to be underestimated.

Peter Nevill, the wicketkeeper, looks certain to keep his place despite apparent disquiet in the dressing room about how the axing of Brad Haddin was handled.


First-innings runs
The first-innings average in the last ten years at Trent Bridge (nine Tests) is 321. This is in keeping with the ground's reputation for assisting seam and swing bowlers.

Only two sides have scored 400 or more in first innings during the study period so it would be a risk to back either team for a dominant display with the bat first up.

In 2013 when the sides met there, England were bowled out for 215 and then Australia struggled, making 280. The first-innings scores in the County Championship this season read: 374-240-255-312-428. That is an average of 322.

We would like to lay the side batting first for 350 or more. But are wary of getting against Australia because England will be less potent with the ball. So siding with Australia's quicks could be the best way to go and if that means waiting for England's turn then so be it.


Match odds
England are [3.4], Australia are [2.1] and the draw is [4.3]. But the most important numbers are those related to the toss. Yes, folks, we have another bias.

In the last ten Tests which have produced a result at Trent Bridge, seven have been won by the side batting first, including the 2013 Ashes contest when England conceded a first-innings lead despite batting first.

Again, it is due to the reputation to seam and swing. This could be tempered slightly by the groundsman admitting that the pitch might not be as green had Anderson played, but it is still significant.

Both captains will be aware of the bias. But it will be fascinating to see if Clarke holds his nerve and bats first if he calls correctly after he was trashed for doing so at Edgbaston.

The best betting advice has to be to wait for the flip and bet accordingly. We would hope it is Australia. Despite the scoreline, they are in better shape than we're led to believe and we'd be nervous about being on England without Anderson. Steven Finn's form is great to see but England could be about to find out how important Jimmy is, if they don't suspect already.


Top England runscorer
Joe Root, who is [4.5], averages 95 at Trent Bridge. He has little to beat. Alastair Cook has a mark of 20 and Ian Bell, who has made a return to form, 37. Cook and Bell are [5.4] and [6.2] respectively. Lyth has a first-class average of 69.


Top Australia runscorer
This could be another venue for Chris Rogers to shine. He of the tight technique is [5.8]. He got a fifty there in 2013 and in first-class cricket he averages 67. Steve Smith, who is [4.6], and David Warner at [5.0] are not value as they have shown they don't have the technique when the ball is moving. Clarke is [7.4].


Recommended Bets
Lay England for 350 or more first-innings runs at [2.1]
Back Australia if they bat first at around [1.95]

Ed Hawkins P/L

2015: +£262.10
2014: +315.10
2013: +250.80
To £10 level stakes (unless otherwise stated), based only on available prices. Does not include back-to-lay in-running match advice or commission rate.
Follow Ed on Twitter @cricketbetting

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