Who Will Win The Ashes?

Next week sees the continuation of one of the oldest rivalries in world sport. Today on the blog Peter Sharland joins us to tell us who will win The Ashes 2013.

TheAshes

It’s that time of the year again isn’t it? The sun is occasionally peeping its head from behind the clouds, people are starting to bring out their summer wardrobe and the Aussies are in town.

Well actually the Australians have been here for some time thanks to the surprisingly enjoyable ICC Champions Trophy. Their (and obviously England’s) real priority this summer is of course The Ashes. It must be said that Australia are probably not the best prepared they have ever been for an Ashes series and this must be the most confident England fans will have been for a while.

Of course everyone saw England’s meek capitulation in the Champions Trophy final but the fact remains that they were in the final. Their arch rivals were dumped out in the group stage accompanied by the embarrassment of David Warner’s assault on Joe Root. South African Mickey Arthur has been the fall guy for this series of failures having now been replaced by Darren Lehmann. The new coach is arguably the textbook definition of a no-nonsense Australian and if anyone was going to pick the Australians up and get them firing for The Ashes, it’s good for them that it is Lehmann.

Why England Will Win The Ashes

Not that Lehmann’s appointment has had much of an impact on who most people think will win this series. Despite the snap decision to fire and replace Arthur most pundits and punters alike seem convinced that England will win their third straight Ashes series. England are unbeaten in their last three Test series, drawing one and winning two. Although two of these series have been against New Zealand (the worst test nation bar Bangladesh and Zimbabwe) the other victory was in India, a notoriously tricky place to play cricket.

Last summer’s home defeat to South Africa still rankles and the Proteas are deservedly the number one side in the world right now. Aside from that series though England will be feeling confident especially considering the fact that they have won the last two Ashes series and three out of the last four. Alastair Cook has taken over admirably from former captain Andrew Strauss and at 28 looks set to be at the helm for a number of years to come. Andy Flower seems a rejuvenated figure since he handed over one-day responsibilities to Ashley Giles and given he has been out of the picture since the New Zealand series in May, you can be sure he will raring to go again. His enthusiasm should rub off on his players and he will be keen to make sure they are all as fired up as possible.

Although I’m sure they won’t need that much firing up, cricket clashes don’t come much bigger than this and England will be able to count on the support of the entire nation as usual. Their squad looks more than up to the challenge as well and with the returning Kevin Pietersen England have regained their X-Factor. When Pietersen was dropped from the squad for the final test against South Africa Jonny Bairstow filled in admirably, scoring two fifties but he doesn’t provide the same fear factor that Pietersen does. He is probably England’s most naturally gifted batsman and even when he isn’t on form you know he is more than capable of taking a match away from a side with a destructive and ruthless innings.

The captain will lead from the front too, Cook is one of the best Test players in the world and he is England’s leading century maker. It will be interesting to see how his new opening partner Joe Root will fare. There are many who believe that Root could eventually be Cook’s successor as England captain and he has impressed in an England shirt so far.

With the ball England are even more dangerous and their bowling attack has become one of the most feared in the world. Jimmy Anderson, the leader of the attack, has developed into the master exponent of the swinging ball and alongside South Africa’s Dale Steyn is probably the best in the world right now. In Graeme Swann they have a spinner of true class and the thought of facing him on turning pitches will be giving the Australian left-handers nightmares.

England To Win The Ashes Betting Odds

England have attracted the majority of the betting with 63% of the outright betting being placed on the home nation. The most popular score is proving to be England winning 3-1 but looking at the two teams I wouldn’t rule out an England 4-0 win with odds on offer as high as 10.00.

As ever the rain will play a big part in the summer and whilst there will be no matches in Cardiff I would be surprised if all five matches remained completely unaffected by rain. In the case of the odd rain affected game or a high scoring draw a 2-0 victory for England at 15.00 could become a very realistic probability. Of course all five games may produce results and a 4-1 to England (13.00) or a 3-2 England win (19.00) are unlikely but not entirely implausible.

2013 Ashes Series Odds

 bet365BetfredLadbrokesWilliamHillUnibet
England To Win 1.33 1.30 1.36 1.33 1.34
Australia To Win 5.50 5.50 5.00 5.00 5.50
Drawn Series 8.00 8.50 6.50 7.00 7.50

Odds as at 10th July 2013.

2013 Ashes First Test Odds

 bet365BetfredLadbrokesWilliamHillUnibet
England To Win 1.90 1.73 1.80 1.80 1.93
Australia To Win 4.00 4.00 4.00 4.00 3.75
Drawn Match 3.75 4.00 4.00 4.00 3.85

Odds as at 10th July 2013.

Can Australia Cause The Upset?

If this is one of the stronger squads England have had going into an Ashes tour, then it has to be said that it is surely one of the weakest Australia have sent out. There are no scary names, no Glen McGrath, no Shane Warne and no Ricky Ponting. Aside from the skipper Michael Clarke, Shane Watson and James Pattinson, you’d be hard pressed to find a player England are agonising over. The squad is in disarray following the David Warner/Joe Root incident and Lehmann will have his work cut out if he is to make Australia genuine contenders.

Lehmann's job will be made especially difficult given the situation of arguably his three best batsmen Clarke, Watson and Warner. Clarke looked in decent nick in the match against Somerset but his back injury could easily flare up over the course of the series, if it does Australia are in big trouble. Meanwhile it has been confirmed by Lehmann that Watson will be opening the batting, something he hasn’t done since 2011. It’d be safe to argue that it is probably his better position (as opposed to no.3) but he is such a loose cannon that it could all backfire spectacularly. On his day Watson is unplayable, a merciless destructor of bowlers but we could just as easily see him knock a couple of quick-fire 30s in the first two Tests and then get injured for the rest of the series. Then there is naughty boy Dave Warner who may well be asked to play in the first Test despite not having played since “Root-gate”. Like Watson he could be equally memorable as forgettable and it would be a brave man to throw Warner in down the order at Nottingham.

The Australian’s main pace bowling outlet will be the younger Pattinson, James who is considerably quicker than his older brother Darren. You’d expect familiar face Peter Siddle to start but if you consider what Lehmann has been saying in press conferences I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Ryan Harris and Mitchell Starc lining up alongside Pattinson. Starc’s youth is both a blessing and a hindrance, he has a lot of promise but if England produce dry pitches he could struggle. Nathan Lyon, comfortably Australia’s best spinner right now, is nowhere near the level of Swann and it will be interesting to see if former Pakistani asylum seeker Fawad Ahmed features at all in the series.

Australia To Win The Ashes Betting Odds

Few are betting on the Australians recovering the Ashes with just 29% of bets heading their way but if you fancy backing the men with the green caps then you’ll find some good odds. The Australians winning 2-1 is best priced at 15.00 whilst a 2-2 draw can be found for 10.00. An Australian whitewash for those who are feeling brave/reckless would see odds of 151.00 upwards.

2013 Ashes Series Correct Result Odds

 bet365BetfredLadbrokesWilliamHillUnibet
England 3-0 7.50 7.00 8.00 8.00 8.00
England 3-1 6.50 6.50 6.50 6.50 7.00
England 2-1 8.50 9.00 7.50 8.00 8.00
England 4-0 9.00 9.00 9.00 9.00 8.50
Drawn Series 2-2 8.00 10.00 9.00 8.00 10.00
England 4-1 10.00 11.00 13.00 11.00 11.00
England 5-0 12.00 11.00 13.00 13.00 12.00
England 2-0 15.00 15.00 13.00 13.00 15.00
Australia 2-1 15.00 15.00 13.00 13.00 15.00
England 3-2 17.00 17.00 17.00 15.00 17.00

Odds as at 10th July 2013.

Top Ashes Batsman

Rather unsurprisingly most of the England team are backed to be leading the individual statistics but Michael Clarke seems to be a strong favourite to be the series’ highest run scorer. He’s just behind Alastair Cook with an English trio of Kevin Pietersen, Jonathan Trott and Joe Root following.

I’m not sure I’d agree with Clarke being so high, in my opinion he represents a risk just because of his back. He also has the capability to be worn down by the English bowlers but he is clearly Australia’s brightest hope. Ian Bell interestingly stretches from 10.00 to 15.00 and although he hasn’t been in great form recently, he is due a couple of decent knocks and I believe he is better when batting further down the order. Joe Root may be new to the Ashes but he’s been about long enough for us to know that he is more than just a space filler, he’s a player with real potential. Opening the batting is a huge responsibility but one I suspect he’ll relish. He is another who is poised for a terrific series.

2013 Top Ashes Batsman Odds

 bet365BetfredSkybetWilliamHillBetVictor
Alastair Cook 5.50 5.00 5.50 5.50 6.00
Michael Clarke 5.00 5.50 6.00 6.00 7.00
Kevin Pietersen 7.50 7.00 6.00 7.00 6.00
Jonathan Trott 6.50 7.00 7.50 7.00 7.00
Joe Root 10.00 9.00 9.00 11.00 10.00
Shane Watson 11.00 9.00 9.00 11.00 13.00
Ian Bell 15.00 13.00 15.00 13.00 11.00
Ed Cowan 21.00 15.00 21.00 15.00 21.00
Chris Rogers 13.00 13.00 10.00 13.00 15.00
Phillip Hughes 19.00 17.00 17.00 17.00 21.00

Odds as at 10th July 2013.

Top Ashes Bowler

Hardly a shock to see James Anderson and Graeme Swann are the two most backed bowlers whilst James Pattinson is strongly tipped to be Australia’s highest wicket taker. Nathan Lyon can be had at 13.00 to be the Aussies’ best bowler whilst despite the resurgence of Stuart Broad I don’t think I’d bet against Swann or Anderson to be the strongest performer for England.

If you like a bit of a wildcard bet then Mitchell Starc and Steven Finn could both represent a bit of a gamble with their values fluctuating between 7.00 to as high as 11.00.

2013 Top Ashes Bowler Odds

 bet365BetfredSportingbetWilliamHillBetVictor
James Anderson 4.00 4.00 4.00 4.00 4.33
Graeme Swann 5.00 4.50 5.50 5.00 4.50
Stuart Broad 6.00 8.00 8.00 7.00 7.50
James Pattinson 7.50 8.00 8.00 6.00 6.50
Peter Siddle 9.00 8.00 9.00 8.00 11.00
Steven Finn 8.00 8.00 8.00 8.00 9.00
Mitchell Starc 8.00 10.00 17.00 10.00 11.00
Nathan Lyon 15.00 17.00 13.00 15.00 17.00
Ryan Harris 17.00 17.00 21.00 15.00 15.00
Jackson Bird 17.00 15.00 21.00 15.00 17.00

Odds as at 10th July 2013.

 

 

Peter is also the editor of OffThePostNews.blog.com

Follow Peter on Twitter: @psharland55