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Wednesday, 19 December, 2018

Australia 5-0 backers relish Adelaide finale

England 40-1 to salvage 3-2 series victory

Jonny Bairstow is bowled by Mitchell Starc, sealing England's 120-run defeat in Adelaide
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Australia swiftly snuffed out England's chances on the final day of the second Test in Adelaide, leaving bookmakers scurrying to slash the odds of a 5-0 Ashes whitewash.

The Aussies lead 2-0 after wrapping up a 120-run victory in the day-night Test and they are 11-4 with bet365 to complete a clean sweep in the series.

Coral are even more pessimistic about England's chances of stopping the rot, offering 2-1 about a 5-0 scoreline, while Sky Bet go 40-1 about the tourists rallying to claim a 3-2 victory.

Bet365 opened up at 22-1 about an Australia 5-0 win and spokesman Steve Freeth said: "A victory in the third Test at the Waca would see the Aussies close to odds-on for another whitewash – an unwanted Christmas present for many bookmakers."

Coral's John Hill said: "Australia 5-0 was the one result we've been praying doesn’t materialise and we're now fearing the worst as the whitewash is the new favourite in the series correct-score market."

England had battled back well in Adelaide, bowling out Australia for 138 in the second innings with James Anderson claiming five wickets. They were 3-1 to win the Test when they resumed on 176-4, in pursuit of a target of 354, on the final morning.

However, nightwatchman Chris Woakes fell to the second ball of the day, skipper Joe Root (67) soon followed, and Mitchell Starc polished off the last three wickets to finish with 5-88.

Starc is the leading wicket-taker in series with 14 scalps, three clear of teammate Nathan Lyon and six ahead of England's James Anderson.

Root, the 7-4 pre-series favourite to top-score for England in the series, leads the tourists' runscoring chart on 142 but Mark Stoneman, Jonny Bairstow, Dawid Malan, Moeen Ali and James Vince have also passed 100 runs in the first two Tests.

Root is now the 5-4 market leader with Stoneman 4-1, Bairstow 7-1 and Alastair Cook, who has scored 62 runs in four innings, 9-1.

The series resumes in Perth on December 14 and Australia are 8-15 to seal the series at the Waca. England are 4-1 for victory with the draw 5-1.

Punting pointers from the second Test

Vulnerable Vince edging towards the exit door 
James Vince started the series with an impressive 83 – England's highest individual score in the first two Tests – but his subsequent knocks have undermined his position at number three.

The manner of his dismissals in Adelaide was disappointingly predictable as he was caught behind off a loose shot in the first innings before nicking a full ball from Mitchell Starc to slip second time around.

Vince's failures in Adelaide mean he has been caught by the wicketkeeper or slips in eight of his last ten Test innings. It looks all too easy for Australia's bowlers to tempt him with pitched-up deliveries outside off stump and wait for an inevitable lapse in discipline. 

Sedate Warner ready to cut loose in Perth
David Warner played a couple of uncharacteristically subdued knocks in Adelaide, scoring 47 off 102 balls in the first innings and 14 off 60 second time around.

The Australia opener was clearly respectful of England's new-ball bowlers, and wary of the tricky batting conditions, but he could change gear in Perth where he has scored 803 runs in nine Test innings at a strike-rate of 90.6.

Warner (53.7) and Jonny Bairstow (52.4) are the only top-seven batsmen with strike-rates above 50 after a cagey start to the series but the runscoring rate may well pick up on a pacy Waca pitch with Australia's dynamic opener to the fore.  

England southpaws taking a battering from Lyon
Starc wrapped up Australia's win in ruthless fashion but spinner Nathan Lyon played a key role, tormenting England's left-handers once again.

Lyon has picked up 11 wickets in the first two Tests and only one of his victims – Chris Woakes in Brisbane – was a right-handed batsman.

He has dismissed opposing spinner Moeen Ali in all four innings, twice claimed the big wicket of Cook in Adelaide, and England's southpaws have been unable to knock him off his stride, as reflected by a miserly series economy rate of 2.29 runs per over.

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Coral are pessimistic about England's chances, offering 2-1 about a 5-0 scoreline, while Sky Bet go 40-1 about the tourists claiming a 3-2 victory
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