Only one of the last 20 Test matches at the Sydney Cricket Ground has ended in a draw so punters betting on the Fifth Test between cock-a-hoop Australia and down-in-the-dumps England have an incredibly simple decision to make.
For while England thrashed Australia by an innings and 83 runs at the Sydney Cricket Ground three years ago and the Poms have won two of their last three Test games in the Harbour City, no-one in their right mind could consider backing the tourists to end the Ashes series with a win.
Several bookmakers, including Betfred and Coral, are offering odds of 1.67 about Australia winning the Fifth Test and whitewashing England for only the third time in Ashes history. No rational punter would back England with counterfeit cash let alone real money following the events of the last two months so, if one wants to bet on the raw result of the Sydney Cricket Ground showdown, there is only sound way to go and that is to the back the home team.
After all, Australia has won 16 of the last 20 Test matches at the Sydney Cricket Ground with the exception to the home rule being Pakistan in 1995, England in 2003 and the Poms again in 2011. The only recent draw in the Harbour City occurred in 2004 when India scored a total of 916 runs for nine wickets declared across its two innings and Australia ran out of time to reach its artificial target of 443 runs for victory. Australia was 86 runs short with four wickets remaining when time ran out in a high-scoring encounter.
Other than backing Australia to win the Fifth Test at odds of 1.67, which is an extremely good bet given the form of the Australians and England, perhaps the smartest way to approach the final act of the Ashes is to bet on a first innings individual century at odds of 1.80 with Bet365.
Three-digit scores are commonplace in Test games at the Sydney Cricket Ground, particularly in the first innings before the pitch turns late in the match. The statistics from the last 10 Test games in the Harbour City point to Bet365’s offer of odds of 1.80 as being a late Christmas present to punters who like to follow historical trends.
Batsmen have scored 17 centuries in the first innings of the last 10 Test matches at the Sydney Cricket Ground, with only three games drawing blanks. Half of the last 10 Test games in the Harbour City have featured three first-innings tons, with the three blanks having top first-innings scores of 71 runs, 85 runs and 89 runs. And the last Ashes match at the New South Wales venue saw England batsmen Ian Bell (115 runs), Matt Prior (118 runs) and Alistair Cook (189 runs) celebrate centuries in the first innings of the game.
Bookmakers will not frame top bowler markets for the second innings until after the Fifth Test gets under way but it is worth bearing in mind that the Sydney Cricket Ground has a tendency to become a spinner’s paradise from the halfway mark of matches onwards. The New South Wales facility has a reputation as being friendly to slow bowlers but one should not back, say, Monty Panesar to be England’s top bowler in Australia’s first innings because the scorecards of recent Test games in the Harbour City suggest that it is the fast bowlers who have the most fun over the first few days.
However, spinners do have an excellent record in the second innings of Test matches at the Sydney Cricket Ground, with even Australia captain Michael Clarke taking three wickets for five runs versus India in 2008. That was a crazy Test game in which another of Australia’s part-time slow bowlers, Andrew Symonds, took three second-innings wickets as well.