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England seek SCG lift from Crane

England seek SCG lift from Crane


England have one final chance to rescue some pride from a dismal Ashes series against Australia, with the SCG the venue for the fifth and final Test.

The tourists have long since seen their hopes of retaining the little urn go up in flames, having been heavily beaten in Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth before the fourth Test in Melbourne petered out into a tame draw.

Captain Joe Root is expecting a surface which will favour the spinners, especially as the game progresses, and the Three Lions have taken a leap into the dark in selecting young leg-spinner Mason Crane to replace injured seamer Chris Woakes.

Crane, 28/1 to be named as man of the match, has impressed the England hierarchy with his approach to his first senior tour and has some pedigree already from his fledgling career.

His first ever first-class wicket was that of Kumar Sangakkara while his first international victim was AB de Villiers, so he has the ability to trouble the best of batsman.

Crane will operate alongside Moeen Ali, who retains his place despite a hugely disappointing series to date, and if you fancy him to come good he is 25/1 to be man of the match.

Alastair Cook must be another man to watch at 14/1, having made a record 244 not out at the MCG, the highest score by a batsman carrying his bat in a Test match.

Skipper Root will also be desperate to end on a high and put right his record of having yet to make a Test century in Australia.

The hosts also drafted an extra spinner, Ashton Agar, into their squad for Sydney, but he is set to miss out, with the Australian camp making noises that they feel the Sydney pitch has a tinge of green to it.

Star paceman Mitchell Starc appears set to return after missing out in Melbourne due to a bruised heel, but at 6/1 to be man of the match he may not offer too much value.

Fellow seamer Josh Hazlewood may be a better option at 9/1 while off-spinner Nathan Lyon will be hoping that England are correct and the pitch takes some turn – if it does then his odds of 12/1 to be man of the match are on the generous side.

With the bat, David Warner ran into something like top form at the MCG and he has the knowledge that he has made centuries in each of his last three Test appearances in Sydney.

He is 8/1 to be named man of the match although, like every other player on both sides, Warner has had to play second fiddle to his captain Steve Smith throughout the series.

Smith already has two centuries and a double ton to his name from the first four Tests and is therefore fancied at 9/2 to be named man of the match.

However, his record at the SCG is not quite as impressive as Warner’s, so maybe the latter can take centre stage this time around.

Of the other Australia batters, Shaun Marsh has probably been the pick so far in the series, but he has passed 50 just once in his last four innings and will be looking to put a score on the board to ensure he stays put for the upcoming tour of South Africa.

The hosts also go into the game on the right end of results in recent years between the two sides at the SCG, with England without a win there since 1979. The last five meetings in Sydney have all gone the way of the home side, with four of them being rather comprehensive in their nature.

However, 20/33 for the Baggy Greens to win offers no hope of a good return and so 33/10 may be a bit more of a tempter, with three consecutive draws preceding the recent run of Australian success.

A long shot would see you opt to take a chance on England at 33/10 to win the final Test.

A final market which could catch your eye is the method of dismissal for the first wicket to fall in the match.

Caught is the runaway market leader at 4/9 although that has not been the way the first wicket has fallen in any of the last three Tests.

Cameron Bancroft was run out in the second Test in Adelaide while leg before wicket decisions accounted for the first wickets to fall in both Perth and Melbourne.

LBW is 4/1 to account for the first wicket again in Sydney while clean bowled at 7/2 also appears to be a decent option, especially if Starc is able to take to the field as he bowls a fuller length and will have two left-handers to aim at if England bat first.

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Adrian Mills Adrian has enjoyed a journalistic career spanning over three decades, with cricket his specialised topic. He also has a wealth of knowledge on football, golf and tennis and has the stats to back up his betting advice.