Mon, Nov 6, 3:16pm by Head Editor
England’s quest to retain the Ashes has started with a draw in a two-day game against Western Australia.
Jimmy Anderson was the pick of the bowlers, finishing with 4/27 from his 13 overs, while Mark Stoneham and James Vince made 85 and 82 runs respectively.
The tourists would have been reasonably happy with the way they responded and played the game out, after former skipper Alistair Cook failed to trouble the scorers.
Next up is a four-day, pink ball match against a Cricket Australia XI, starting on Wednesday, where the English will have to lift, with the quality of their opponents much higher than a third-string WA side that they met first up.
While the Three Lions were in the middle of the WACA in Perth, on the east side of the country, several of Australia’s Test hopefuls were out to cement their spot in the side for the opening Ashes Test on November 23 in Brisbane.
Starting in Hobart, Matthew Wade failed to cement his spot behind the stumps, making just 17 for Tasmania, and taking one catch. The Tassie gloveman has now scored just 33 runs from four Shield innings this season, which has led to calls for Peter Nevill or bolter Alex Carey to take his spot behind the stumps.
The number six spot is another position in the Aussie XI that is yet to be confirmed, with as many as seven players in contention according to pundits.
The man who last batted in that spot in a Test, Victoria’s Glenn Maxwell made 60, but that could be viewed as a missed opportunity, when he dragged a ball into his own stumps when a century was in sight.
His teammate Marcus Harris was able to reach triple figures, putting his hand up for a Test debut with a brilliant 103.
While there are a couple of spots in the top seven up for grabs, the bowling unit looks settled with Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon all taking wickets over the last few days.
Australia are a $1.72 favourite to start the series with a win at the Gabba, a venue that the hosts have a famously strong record at. The hosts have not lost a Test at the ground since 1988, while a series win is now at the shorts odds of $1.40.
The visitors are $3.35 to win in Brisbane and $4 outsider to win the series, while a draw series, which is enough for the Old Dart to retain the Ashes, is at $8.
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