Despite losing over five sessions to rain, the second Ashes Test match was a thrilling one.
It contained a captivating eight-over spell from Jofra Archer. The England debutant exceeded 90mph with 16 consecutive deliveries and caused Steve Smith many problems. That spell may well have a huge impact on the rest of the series.
The most significant moment was when Archer hit Smith in the neck with a quick and well directed bouncer. The blow causing Smith to retire hurt, and while he did return, he was not his normal assured self.
While England have named an unchanged squad of 12 for the third Test, Australia have confirmed Smith is not fit to participate.
Smith has scored 378 runs at an average of 126. That is 37% of Australia’s runs in the three innings he has been able to bat. While Marnus Labuschagne batted well as his replacement, it is easy to see the impact Smith has on the side. The news that Smith is out explains why England are once again odds on.
As we move to Leeds, England are at 5/8 to win the match with GIVEMEBET. Only 1 out of the last 19 Tests at Headingley have ended in a draw, and with a good forecast in Yorkshire, it is very hard to see the match ending in a draw. It is priced at 13/2, but the selection is receiving little interest, with most of the money being placed on the hosts. However, England have lost 3 out of their last 5 matches in Leeds and their batting remains unconvincing.
Looking at the teams, it is expected that England will field the same 11. With Smith out for Australia, Marnus Labuschagne will likely come in. With Travis Head seen practicing short leg catches in training, Cameron Bancroft might be dropped. They may also change their bowling attack again. James Pattinson was rested for Lord's, while Mitchell Starc is still waiting for his first Test of the series.
Possible third Test Line-ups
England: Rory Burns, Jason Roy, Joe Root*, Joe Denly, Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow+, Chris Woakes, Jofra Archer, Stuart Broad, Jack Leach
Australia: David Warner, Marcus Harris, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Travis Head, Mathew Wade, Tim Paine*+, Pat Cummins, James Pattinson, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon
Focus, as always, will turn to pitch conditions as we build up to the match. Expect grass to be left on the strip, and seam movement to be available for the quick bowlers. Yorkshire did score 520 batting first in the last County Championship match at Headlingley, before bowling Somerset out twice to win by an innings and 73 runs. The ground averages 1,041 runs per Test match in the last 10 years.
Joe Root has struggled this series, dropping down the world batting rankings to ninth. However, he is still 5/2 favourite to top score for England in their first innings. Ben Stokes, on the back of his Lord’s hundred, might be a more appealing option at 4/1. In the bowlers market, it's all eyes on Archer, and what he can produce in his second Test. Stokes believes that ‘the sky is the limit’ for the young quick bowler and expectations will be high for further wickets.
"He gives another dimension to our bowling attack the first innings he bowled 29 overs but his last spell of eight was one of the best out-and-out fast bowling spells I have seen since I started playing," he added.
If he continues to bowl such a large proportion of England’s overs, backing him Top England first innings bowler at 2/1 with GIVEMEBET is very tempting.
Without Smith, the top Australian batsman becomes a very different market. David Warner has yet to make double figures this series, but had an impressive World Cup and still averages 46.91 in Test cricket and 43.94 against England. He is 3/1 with GIVEMEBET! Smith aside, the only other Australian to make a hundred this series is Matthew Wade, and he can be backed at 11/2 with GIVEMEBET!
Pat Cummins remains the number one bowler, according to the last world rankings, and he is 2/1 favourite with GIVEMEBET! to take the most wickets for Australia in the first innings.
Get ready for another exciting five days, as England attempt to square the series at 1-1.
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