Second Ashes Test Day 2 In-Play Update: Draw is no certainty despite the weather forecast

Australian cricketer Steve Smith
Steve Smith will be eyeing a sizeable first innings lead
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Rain is playing havoc with the second test but, with wickets falling fast, the match is still very much alive. Paul Krishnamurty updates the state of play...

"This is far from a certain washout...If Australia bat well, we may need little more than three completed innings. Equally if skittled cheaply, a result becomes very likely."

Latest score: England 258, Australia 30-1

Match Odds: England [4.5], Australia [3.05], Draw [2.18]

The first test produced a fantastic in-play betting heat, with all three results trading as favourite at some stage. Despite losing the entire opening day, we could be set for a repeat at Lords.

All three results still alive

Despite losing the entire first day to rain, all three results are very much alive. The draw - the subject of an inspired pre-match gamble down from [7.4] - remains favourite due to a poor forecast but a dominant morning from either England or Australia could put them in command.

As it stands, Australia are surely ahead. England's 258 could have been a lot worse and note that Ed Hawkins considered that a competitive total in his pre-match preview. However the pitch didn't seem so bad and I felt it was 50-100 under par. We'll see. Steve Smith tends to make a mockery of such assessments.

Rain expected to wipe out the afternoon

Much, of course, revolves around the weather. The Met Office predict a 50% chance of rain at 1pm, becoming 80% by 3pm, to set in for the day. On that reckoning, we'll do well to get 35 overs in tomorrow. Without early wickets, the draw odds will collapse.

Nevertheless this is far from a certain washout. The final two days are pretty clear and, if Australia bat well, we may need little more than three completed innings. Equally if skittled cheaply, a result becomes very likely.

When England were 161-6, I posted the following bet on Australia via Twitter. Bad timing as they proceeded to put on another 49 before losing their next wicket, but that was the case in the last match and we ended up in profit.

The odds have slightly drifted and, with the rain coming, that bet doesn't particularly appeal right now. The scenario, nevertheless, is still on. It requires England being bowled out for 197 in their second innings. Very plausible given they are struggling and how Nathan Lyon extracted some turn already.

Even if things go against Australia, and they're bowled out for less than England, there's every chance they will end up trading shorter than [2.68] in the run chase.

Because of the expected rain-related charge on the draw, I'm avoiding the match odds market for now and focusing instead on Australia 1st Innings Runs.

Aussie batsmen in for tough morning

All things equal, I would fancy Australia to pass 300 but given the weather, [1.6] about 250 or more looks too short. They've lost David Warner already and Cameron Bancroft is highly vulnerable when they restart. Conditions will likely be overcast and difficult for batting. They're unlikely to reach 150 before the rain arrives.

This 'unders' bet may well be reversed or traded mid-innings. Perhaps within that first hour if Bancroft falls. If so I'll update on Twitter and, unless the weather forecast is spectacularly wrong, will do so here tomorrow.

Follow Paul on Twitter @paulmotty

Paul Krishnamurty,

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