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England get a firm grip on the urn just two Tests into the Ashes

22/7/2013
With England having secured a two-Test lead in the Ashes a day early after bowling the tourists out in just 90.3 overs in the second innings and claiming a 347-run victory, Alastair Cook’s men look in good shape to retain the urn this summer.

Attention now turns to Old Trafford where the third Test starts on Thursday, 1 August. England are favourites once again at 8/11 (various), with the Aussies priced at 9/2 (various), and a draw available at 5/2 (various).

Opener Joe Root hit 180 at Lord’s and the Yorkshireman is 4/1 along with Cook, Jonathan Trott and injury concern Kevin Pietersen to be the highest scorer in Manchester. Australia skipper Michael Clarke, whose second innings wicket Root took for 51, is the shortest price at 3/1 to top score (various).

Australia need to win the series outright to claim the Ashes back, but it is looking increasingly unlikely after their unravelling over the last few days. Their batsmen seem incapable of withstanding the spin from Graeme Swann and the swing from Jimmy Anderson, while they seem to miss-call just about every challenge to the umpire’s decision. England seem able to rely on at least one batsman having a strong innings as a platform to build from, with the bowlers really shining on the hard and worn pitches. A bit of rain could hamper that however.

Australia have moved to 50/1 to win the series (Paddy Power) after starting out at 9/2, with England now 1/20 (Sky Bet) and a draw at 20/1 (Boylesports).

A whitewash – which could initially be backed at the fairly short price of 14/1 (Boylesports) – can now be found as short as 3/1 (various) after England’s two dominating performances at Trent Bridge and Lord’s, although a 4-0 final score is still the favourite at 2/1 (Boylesports).

Australia can be backed at 11/10 to win one Test, while you can back them to finish the series without a victory at 4/6 (Paddy Power).

England’s form so far, albeit not perfect, has given them a good grounding to retain the Ashes this series ahead of the second series in Australia later in the year. You can back a double result with Ladbrokes, where England are 8/13 to claim both series.

Bruce Archer
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