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Fifth Ashes Test preview - Top Batsman

This Ashes series might be done and dusted as far as the urn is concerned but there are still plenty of betting opportunities available. David L from CheekyPunter.com suggests a lay bet strategy for the final test of the series.

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England v Australia 5th Test: Top Team Batsman

England start the game priced 2.16 on the exchanges with the Aussies 3.7 and the draw slightly more favoured at 3.65.

Definitely room for manoeuvre there but my article is going to focus on the Top Batsman market and employ a strategy I've been using with good success throughout the series so far.

Let’s get stuck in.

5th Ashes Test: Top Team Batsman

Here are the averages so far this series where the batsmen are concerned along with each player high score (HS):

England Ashes Batting Averages

Bell 71.42 HS 113
Root 37.14 HS 180
Pietersen 34.50 HS 113
Bairstow 29.00 HS 67
Cook 27.23 HS 62
Trott 24.25 HS 58

Australia Ashes Batting Averages

Clarke 49.42 HS 187
Rogers 43.00 HS 110
Warner 30.00 HS 71
Hughes 27.66 HS 81
Watson 27.00 HS 68
Haddin 25.14 HS 71
Smith 25.00 HS 89

During any test series it’s my aim to identify weakness in the lower or middle order of any team and take my position in the market there. This often allows me to green up before my victim even makes it to the crease.

A strong stand between the two openers or either opener and the man at number three will naturally lengthen the odds of the lower order batsman being top run scorer in any innings. Therefore a lay bet on an out of form player in the middle order can be a strong position to take.

Equally if the top order go cheap the collapse has been set in motion and your out of form victim folds along with his peers.

The firth Ashes test at The Oval doesn’t quite offer up that specific kind of opportunity where England are concerned as it’s their top order which has struggled to perform.

However Shane Watson, if in his new lower order position, is a prime target for a lay bet. He seems to struggle converting starts into bigger totals and his general form (average 27.0 HS 68) is poor. If selected he’s a lay bet all day long and there’s a good chance you’ll be out of the market before he even arrives at the crease.

Selecting a victim in the England team isn’t quite as clear cut. Taking Bairstow is the obvious choice but his SP looks set around the 13.00 mark and in terms of liquidity I can’t envisage many willing backers. His form has obviously been appalling and his place in the side is very much in doubt.

My second fancy, without looking to deeply into statistics, would have been Kevin Pietersen who’s had a relatively quiet series with the bat. However his record at The Oval is superior to any other English batsman with 785 runs in 7 matches at an average of 60.38 which includes four tons.

Realistically this leaves Cook, Trott and Joe Root. A case could be made for and against all of the above but with the pressure of the series lifted I wouldn’t like to back against Cook. It's possible Root is playing to keep his place in the side and if not he’s certainly playing to keep his place as an opener so that leaves Trott as the only man without certain motivation.

Priced at 5.4 Jonathan Trott would be my initial lay from the England side of things but in all honesty I’d be happy to take a couple of ticks and get out. You’ve got the added bonus of his slow strike rate as well to rescue your position.

Lay Bet Predictions

These lay bet predictions are for the 1st innings and the intention is to trade out of your position in-play. If you can’t trade out in-play then you’ll be much better off with a straight up back bet on your selection for top batsman.

Australia 1st innings - Shane Watson currently at 8.8
England 1st innings - Jonathan Trott currently at 5.4

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