Australia 10/11 to beat England at Edgbaston, with the home side set to make changes to the team
After the excitement of winning in Cardiff came an almighty fall at the home of cricket, with England battered for four days against a resurgent Australia side who put previous problems behind them.
David Warner, Chris Rogers and Steve Smith batted like demons before the England batting order was skittled out, leaving the selectors with some serious dilemma ahead of the 3rd Ashes Test which starts on Wednesday 29 July.
Adam Lyth and Gary Ballance appear the likeliest to get the chop from the unchanged team that appeared at Lord’s, with the two Yorkshire batsmen struggling in their respective positions of opener and number three.
Jonny Bairstow looks set to be recalled for England, with bet365 offering 10/3 that they improve and win at Edgbaston to retake a series lead.
The Cardiff victory illustrates that England can beat Australia in a Test Match and perhaps winning the toss has a tremendous amount of significance judging by what has happened so far.
However, the bookies aren’t taking any chances about the Baggy Greens following that destructive performance with bat and ball.
Sky Bet offer 10/11 that Australia take a series lead in Birmingham, with Mitchell Johnson coming to life at cricketing HQ, while Smith did the same when wielding the bat and the England bowling attack had few answers.
The collective spirit has to be stronger, with Friday’s batting collapse followed by a similar story on Sunday and it was only Alastair Cook and Ben Stokes that offered any first innings resistance.
Stokes is an 8/1 chance to be top England batsman for the series with Coral and only trails Joe Root by 40 runs, with the latter set to be targeted by the Australian bowlers after hitting a century in Glamorgan.
“It was not a good performance over the last four days,” Cook said.
“Australia got on top of us from the first morning and never let us back. Today (Sunday) was the icing on the cake for them; for us it was a kick in the teeth. To get bowled out for 103 is not good enough, not acceptable or up to the standard that the guys can play.
“I said before the game the last two times we’ve gone one up in the series, we haven’t managed to play anywhere near that standard we’ve set in the following game,” Cook said. “For whatever reason, I cannot put my finger on it. We had an opportunity here to build on the win in Cardiff and we haven’t taken it.
“Certainly over the last three or four months, we’ve found ourselves too often 30 for four or 40 for three. It’s just not good enough. We need big runs from the top order. You saw how Australia did it and how it sets up the game. It’s something we’ll have to look at over the next couple of days.”