Punters stake £100m on Adelaide Test

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The Independent Online

The unprecedented twists and turns of the final day of the second Test were reflected by some extraordinary gambles as bookmakers took an estimated £100m on the outcome, including six-figure sums on the draw at long odds-on. The betting exchange Betfair alone saw £18.2m traded on the Test, with Australia backed at odds as high as 49-1 on the final morning.

Betfair punters staked £12,187 on the draw when the price stood at 1-50 in the hope of winning a mere £243 between them - and lost. Conversely, almost £600 was wagered on Australia at prices between 46-1 and 49-1 to earn those backers just under £30,000.

The momentum of the day changed, in betting terms, after Ian Bell and Andrew Strauss's wickets both fell quickly before Shane Warne bowled Kevin Pietersen. The odds on an Aussie win plummeted to 9-2, and when Ashley Giles went, the hosts became favourites for the first time since the opening day, and never looked back.

The story was given a quirky footnote yesterday when racing proved an uncanny echo of events in Adelaide. A horse called Warne's Way in the 12.40 at Fontwell confounded its price of 9-2 to romp home as the winner, while at the same course in the 1.40, a horse called Flintoff, which vied for favouritism before the off, could only manage second place like its namesake and part-owner.

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How the day unfolded on Betfair:

Start of play: Aus 16-1, Eng 94-1, draw 1-14.

After England's steady start: Aus 49-1, Eng 329-1, draw 1-50.

After Strauss out: Aus 23-1, Eng 359-1, draw 1-25

After Bell out: Aus 14-1, Eng 99-1, draw 1-5.

After Pietersen out: Aus 9-2, Eng 99-1, draw 2-9.

After Flintoff out: Aus 13-8, Eng 59-1, draw 8-13.

After Jones out: Aus 11-10, Eng 44-1, draw evens.

After Giles out: Aus 10-11, Eng 43-1, draw evens.

Australia then remained odds-on for most of the day, with their price contracting as the run chase unfolded. They became unbackable when Australia needed only 17 runs for victory.