Fifth Ashes Test Day 2 In-Play Update - Archer puts England in command

England cricket captain Joe Root
Joe Root's men are heavily odds-on to tie the series

Jofra Archer has put England on top at The Oval but dare punters back them at odds-on? Paul Krishnamurty is betting against them...

"After all the twists and turns and betting drama of this series, only the very brave will be piling into the hosts at odds of just 1.351/3."

Lay England 12u @ 1.351/3

Latest score: England 294 & 9-0, Australia 225

Match Odds: England 1.351/3, Australia 4.216/5, Draw 34.033/1

England are poised to end an unforgettable summer with a tied Ashes series, thanks primarily to their new superstar. Jofra Archer took 6-62 in another brilliant performance to set up a formidable halfway position. The icing on the cake was Rory Burns saving his wicket with a successful review after the final ball.

England hold critical lead

They lead by 78 runs with all ten second wickets standing, on a dry Oval pitch that seems certain to deteriorate. If they can bat through Saturday, the game should be beyond Australia.

Easier said than done, as anyone with the vaguest knowledge of cricket knows. After all the twists and turns and betting drama of this series, only the very brave will be piling into the hosts at odds of just 1.351/3.

Potential remains for a turnaround

Various scenarios could play out from here in which the betting could turn around. Obviously, they could lose early wickets or fail to set a big target - 250 would be a roughly even money bet.

If they set 350, they wouldn't be that much shorter than 1.351/3, maybe 1.21/5, and a good start from the Aussies would force a drift. Think back to how the market moved during that incredible chase at Headingley.

Or England could bat really well. Because there is so much time left in the game, they would probably bat beyond 400 before declaring. In that scenario, the draw would crash from 34.033/1 and again, England's odds wouldn't have shortened that much.

England fancied to win but not value

To be clear - my opinion is England will ultimately win, and I want out of yesterday's bet on the Aussies at 2.56/4. Place a lay order to cash out of that bet level if possible.

However the 'value' right now, based on recent experience of test cricket, is to lay the favourites at 1.351/3.

The other Test Match End bet - Day 4 Evening at 5.24/1 - is in a good position. That session fits well with various scenarios and I expect it to trade shorter tomorrow as we get closer to the result.

Low England totals are a cheap bet

The two other main markets to focus upon are England 2nd Innings Runs and Top England 2nd Innings Batsman. In the former, the 175 and 225 plus bands look cheap lays at 1.162/13 and 1.444/9 respectively. England remain very brittle and prone to collapse.

For that reason, I like 17.5 about Sam Curran for top batsman. He's started very well in tests, averaging 32 from low down the order. If England lose early wickets, he could very plausibly win this market with a rapid 35.

Follow Paul on Twitter @paulmotty

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