Australia Retain The Ashes
It was an utterly disappointing day for English fans on Sunday as with just over 13 overs remaining on the final fifth day at Old Trafford, the resilient Craig Overton was bowled out to ensure the Aussies retained the Ashes.
That’s the first time in 18 years they’ve managed to head back down under with the Urn in their possession and no doubt they won’t just want to stop there, with the series at 2-1 in their favour and an opportunity to strike yet another blow upon the hosts at the Oval.
Another Fierce Encounter Expected
We’ve been treated to some superb cricket since the start of August with that miracle Ben Stokes innings at Headingley as well as some more nail-biting action at Old Trafford last weekend.
The mutual fan may be thinking that this series is over, but how wrong they’d be with this fierce rivalry unlikely to let up until the very last ball is bowled, as the English look to level the scores and save any embarrassment.
The dominant force this series has been that of Steve Smith, who has scored a miraculous 671 runs from just his three Tests (he missed Headingley through concussion), which is almost twice as many as the next best player Stokes on 354.
He’s scored at least 87 in each of his innings and is averaging 134 this series, while his two career Test visits to this South London stadium have seen him score centuries in each, at an average of 144 from his three innings’.
The other major performances are that of Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood, who between them have taken 42 wickets and been in superb form, including two ‘four-fers’ apiece. Together they’ve driven the Aussies over the line and the visitors will be looking to them again for inspiration this week.
Australia To Win
The forecast for the upcoming week looks to be minimal on the rain front and so a result is almost certainly going to occur. Indeed, Wednesday is likely to be overcast followed by four days of blistering sunshine at around 20 degrees.
The hosts find themselves in unknown waters here having already failed to retain the Ashes heading into the last match, but one factor on their side is that Australia have only twice won at the Oval from 12 Test visits since 1975.
However, they did win the last of them in 2015 by an innings & 46 runs, while those previous performances for England can be thrown out the window anyway given the terrible form they have been in. We’re struggling to see how they’re going to put pressure on their visitors having been outplayed in each of the last three Tests – Edgbaston, Headingley and Old Trafford – while they were fortunate to come away with that victory in Leeds. At the current prices, Tim Paine’s men look a good bet.
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