The 71st Ashes series is well underway and is beautifully poised for another test to start tomorrow. The 3rd test takes place at Headingley in Leeds and looks set to be an absolute cracker.
Australia head into the test with a 1-0 series lead. One more victory out of the remaining three will see the Aussies retain the Ashes.
3rd Ashes test betting odds
In terms of the betting odds for the third Ashes Test, the bookmakers are predicting an England win. The following prices are based on Smarkets odds at the time of writing:
England – 1.71
Draw – 8.6
Australia – 3.3
The bookies have England as the favourites to level the series, which would lead to a great finale in one of the last two tests.
Steve Smith absent for Australia
Steve Smith is absent for the 3rd Ashes test after sustaining a concussion in the last match. He was hit on the neck off of a Jofra Archer ball travelling at over 90 mph.
Without Steve Smith, Australia are a different team and one that lacks any top batsman in form. So far this series, Smith has scored 142, 144 and 92 giving him an average of over 100 per innings.
Up until now, Smith has scored 243 more runs than any other Australian batsmen in the series and only one other batsman has scored a century for the team.
Justin Langer, the Aussie coach will be hoping the rest of the Australian batsman are able to pick up the slack with Smith absent.
The main bowlers for Australia will include Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon. The latter will be hoping to improve his performance from the previous test.
England team news
In terms of England selection, Trevor Bayliss will pick from the same squad that played in the last test match at Lords apart from one change.
Ollie pope is added to the squad, in case Jason Roy is deemed unfit due to a concussion sustained in the practice nets on Tuesday.
If Roy is fit, he’s likely to open the batting with Rory Burns. Having just started his test career, Roy needs to find some form similar to how he played in the ODIs.
The key bowler for England will be Jofra Archer, if he can unleash the same pace and ferocity that he bowled with in the last test England will be in the driving seat. Jack Leach played well in the last test following his re-introduction into the side. He will be looking to continue in that vein.
Head to head at Headingley
In terms of the head to head at Headingley, it’s been a fairly neutral ground over the last 20 years. That should set the stage for a great test match starting tomorrow.
What’s more, the weather looks set to be an improvement from rainy London so we should get the full five days in compared to the drastically shortened test at Lords.
Heading into this test, I think England are a solid bet but you can never rule out a draw, especially if the weather takes a turn as it often does in northern England.