Fourth Ashes Test Preview: England can Harbour hopes of a result

Australia v England – Fourth Ashes Test Match, January 5-9 – Sydney Cricket Ground (11.30pm UK Jan 4)

It could hardly have been worse for Joe Root, Chris Silverwood and England. A 3-0 deficit, with the Ashes gone in just 12 days of play at Brisbane, Adelaide and Melbourne. 

And now both are having to field questions about their respective roles. 

Spare a thought for coach Silverwood, who is currently in isolation after a family member went down with Covid and is unlikely to be present in Sydney.

Not only that but he would have seen South African coach Gary Kirsten declare his interest in a role which is not yet vacant. 

Now all that England can do is salvage some pride from the wreckage.

England Double Chance win or draw 11/10 with MansionBet

Some of you may be thinking, ‘He’s mad’. But you only need to look at the weather forecast for Australia’s Harbour City over the next week to know this bet has a good chance of landing. 

The Test starts on Wednesday Down Under, and there is rain forecast every day through until Sunday.

I still expect England to have some success in this Test series, even if it is just a dominant day or two. If that comes in this fixture, it should be enough to land the Double Chance.

If you are a touch more adventurous, then a number of sites, including 888Sport, are offering 11/8 on the outright draw. 

Smith and Root due big ones

Betfred are offering a first-innings top run-scorer offer for all Ashes Tests. Place a team top run-scorer bet and if your player scores a century but fails to top score, they will pay you out as a winner in cash within 24 hours.

Steve Smith and Joe Root are certainly due centuries. 

Smith’s record against England is outstanding – 11 centuries in 30 Ashes Tests. But he is still to register in this series, coming closest with 93 in the first innings of the second Test at Adelaide. 

He has been uncharacteristically below par around that, with other scores of 12, 6 and 16. But he is on his home ground and can get lift off here having been stuck in one for nearly an hour at the team hotel just before New Year! 

It would be no surprise to see him at least score a ton and, even better, win the Australian top-scorer market at 5/2 .

England captain Root has had disappointing days at the SCG. Dropped at this venue in early 2014, he was hospitalised with dehydration in early 2018.

But he is primed to turn it around. A fighter until the end, Root will be desperate to post his first Ashes career century on Australian turf.

He scored 1,708 runs in 2021, the third highest total ever in Test cricket for a calendar year. So the form is definitely there.

Fingers crossed, he can deliver this week to give England fans something to cheer. He is 13/10 to be England’s top first-innings batter.