Tue, Jan 2, 3:57pm by Head Editor
Date and Time: Thursday, January 4, 10:30am AEDT
Venue: SCG, Sydney, New South Wales
TV: Channel Nine
Australia and England head to Sydney for the fifth and final Ashes Test, and although the result of Cricket’s oldest series may already be in the book, there is still plenty to play for when the action begins at the SCG on Thursday.
England are coming off their best performance of the summer, with the tourists having the better of proceedings on a lifeless pitch at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in the fourth Test.
The three lions led by 61 runs heading into the final day’s play in Melbourne, and were the only team who had a chance of winning, but David Warner and Steve Smith ensured their team would remain unbeaten, putting on 107 for the third wicket, which was enough to thwart any hopes of a consolation win for the poms.
Despite the tourists improved showing, the head to head odds are still heavily in favour of the hosts for this one, with just $1.63 on offer for the Aussies to win, while England are at $4.50 to win their third match at the SCG from their last 11 attempts.
Steve Smith scored yet another century in the second innings in Melbourne, which means he has now reached triple figures in four of his last five Ashes Tests. With the form he’s in, he’s into $4 to score another ton in the first innings in this one.
Alistair Cook bounced back to form with a brilliant knock of 244 not out at the MCG, while Joe Root failed to convert another half-century into triple figures. He is due for a big score, and the odds for him to finally make a 100 on Aussie soil, are now out at $7.
Root’s XI is expected to change, with reports that 20-year-old leg-spinner Mason Crane is set to make his debut, at the expense of Moeen Ali, while the hosts will likely go in unchanged.
Australia have won the toss just once in their last six Ashes Tests, so I’ll be taking that to change here at $1.95, while the hosts should be too strong at a ground they’ve not lost at since 2011.
Australia to win the toss: $1.95
Joe Root to score 100 in the first innings: $7
Australia to win: $1.63
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