With one lethal Jofra Archer bouncer, the 2019 Ashes series came alive at Lord’s.
Although it’s never pleasant to see a batsman sprawled on the deck, it’s been an extremely long time since an England quick bowler had any team, let alone the Australians, hopping around like that.
The fact that England will have felt a twinge of disappointment to come away with a draw shows the turnaround Joe Root’s side have gone through since the Edgbaston Test. They can head to Headingley having finally wrestled the onus from Tim Paine’s side.
Our cricket betting expert takes you through the best Ashes bets ahead of the third Test
Before the start of the second Test, much of the talk centred around whether Jofra Archer could find a way to dismiss the imperious Steve Smith. Although he didn’t manage to get him out, his electric spell of 95mph plus bowling will live long in the memory of everybody who was there, including Smith.
England will need to show some caution too. Archer bowled 44 overs at Lord’s and looked to be tiring towards the close of Day 5. As refreshing as it may be for Root to have a shiny new toy in the playroom, he needs to resist the temptation to play with it all the time.
Archer will be most effective in short, sharp spells, supplementing the rest of the bowlers. If they can resist the urge to throw the ball to him whenever they’re in trouble, Archer to be highest wicket-taker in the match could be a good bet at 9/2.
Aside from the reliable services of Pat Cummins, who undoubtedly could be Australia’s stand-out bowler again, I’m interested to see how Josh Hazlewood goes at Headingley. He was very tidy in England’s first innings at Lord’s, picking up three wickets.
Along with Peter Siddle, he’s the Aussies’ most English-type bowler and carries that little bit more pace than Siddle. With that in mind, especially with the ball moving around early-on, Hazlewood to be top wicket-taker looks an attractive proposition at 6/1.
Surprisingly or otherwise, and Ben Stokes aside, Rory Burns has been England’s stand out batsman. Especially given the pressure on the English top-order at the start of the series.
He followed up his first Test hundred, with a fifty in the second and perhaps should have gone bigger. He’s proved he can grind out important runs and kill important time. Truthfully, given Jason Roy’s ongoing troubles, Burns is one good score away from making that place his for some time to come.
The Australians will go short at him again, given his prod to short-leg in the first innings but if he can handle that, he’ll be a great position to add to his series runs so far. At 7/1 with Grosvenorsport.com, Burns to be highest run-scorer in the match could be worth a punt.
With Smith ruled out of the Test through concussion the Australian batting line-up looks somewhat fragile. If he is unable to take his place in the side, Marnus Labuschagne will take his place after a well made fifty in the second innings.
He impressed with his mentality and technique before being dismissed by a controversial Joe Root catch. Even after being struck second ball by Archer, he refused to take a backwards step and probably deserves to come into the team.
I’m not backing Labuschagne to be the highest run-scorer, but at 14/1, it’d be difficult to begrudge anyone who does.
With such a short turn around between Tests, the momentum is firmly with England. With Smith unable to play, their tails should be up in front of a normally vocal Headingley crowd.
The Aussies will battle, no matter who plays, but I’m backing England to level the series at 10/11.