England can pass Lord's Test at 9-4
Monday 16 June 1997
Despite England's crushing success in the opening match of the series, a doubling of their advantage in the series is the outsider of the three possible outcomes at 9-4, with a morale-boosting victory for Australia just 7-4. The clear favourite, however, is the draw, at 6-5.
Clearly, Hills expect the Australian batsmen to maintain the form of their second innings at Edgbaston, rather than revert to their abject display in the first.
But, even then, it seems incredible that the tourists are rated more likely winners than the hosts, not least when England remain even-money favourites with the same firm to win back the Ashes.
Ladbrokes, by contrast, while also making the draw their 6-5 favourite, offer 7-4 against England and 5-2 against Australia, which seems a much more reasonable view.
Once that astonishing first session in Birmingham was out of the way, the two teams were fairly well-matched, but it should pay to remember that England not only started the match by landing a solid psychological uppercut, but also rounded things off the same way, when making very short and professional work of reaching their victory target.
It has been a long time since an England team displayed a killer instinct but, now it has been rediscovered, there must be every chance that Michael Atherton's men will snatch what would probably prove to be an unassailable lead in the series.
That they are 9-4 (the price is also available with Coral) to do so should make the experience all the more satisfying. And, with the best-price betting on the series showing an over-round (profit margin for the bookmakers) of less than one per cent, the evens about England winning the Ashes may also find plenty of takers.
SECOND TEST (Lord's, starts Thursday): Best prices: 5-4 the draw (C), 9-4 England (H, C), 5-2 Australia (L). Ashes series: Evens England (H, C), 5-2 Australia (L), 7-2 drawn series (L).
Top England batsman (Coral): 3-1 Stewart, 100-30 Thorpe, 7-2 Atherton, 4-1 Hussain, 7-1 Crawley, Butcher, 12-1 A Hollioake, 20-1 Ealham, 40-1 Croft, 80-1 Gough, 100-1 Caddick, 200-1 Tufnell, 250-1 Malcolm.
SOUTH AFRICA v BRITISH LIONS SERIES: (Three-Test series starts Saturday): Coral: 2-7 South Africa, 5-2 British Lions, 33-1 drawn series.
C - Coral, H - William Hill, L - Ladbrokes.
Latest in Sport
Kevin Pietersen saga: Chris Gayle offers untimely reminder of absent friend
Ashley Cole and Luke Shaw rise to the bait to deny they are the rumoured 'gay England footballer'
Former British tennis No 1 Elena Baltacha told she has liver cancer
West Bromwich Albion v Manchester United: Is Wayne Rooney really in Robin van Persie’s way at United?
Robin van Persie: Manchester United manager David Moyes a 'little bit surprised' after striker plays 90 minutes for Netherlands day after being sick
- 1 To those who can’t see the point of International Women’s Day: you are the very reason it exists
- 2 International Women's Day 2014: The shocking statistics that show why it is still so important
- 3 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 4 Too upsetting? Academy members voted for Oscar-winning 12 Years A Slave 'without watching it'
- 5 Liam Neeson turned down James Bond role because Natasha Richardson said she wouldn't marry him if he took it
Apple's Tim Cook: Business isn’t just about making profit
Thousands of young people forced to go without food after benefits wrongly stopped under 'draconian' new sanctions regime
Ukraine crisis: New navy chief 'defects' and surrenders Crimean HQ as Putin claims ultranationalists forced intervention
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
Ukraine crisis: Russia dismisses '3am ultimatum' as 'total nonsense'
If you're horrified by a flame-roasted dog, you should be shocked at a hog roast
£12000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: A small but growing chain of boutique hot...
£12000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: The company works with Tier 1 FTSE 100 Ba...
£45 - 60k Per Annum: Charter Selection: Highly profitable leisure brand, marke...
£30000 - £50000 per annum + Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: Residenti...