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Test Cricket News 2013

Cook Staying Calm

England captain, Alastair Cook, says he isn't panicking despite his side's disappointing performances in the opening two Ashes Tests.

The tourists were the favourites in the betting to retain the urn going into the first clash in Brisbane but were comfortably beaten by 381 runs before again going down last week in Adelaide.

It means Michael Clarke's men now stand on the verge of their first series victory against England since 2007 and will be relishing the chance to play on the fiery Perth wicket.

Fans who bet on cricket will recall that the Aussies have a strong record at the WACA and the quick pitch will undoubtedly suit their pace bowlers, most notably Mitchell Johnson who will be hoping to add to his tally of 17 wickets at his home ground.

After making just four runs in his two innings in Adelaide, the skipper has found himself in the unfamiliar position of being under pressure for his place in the side and will looking be to mark his 100th Test cap with a much needed century.

Things certainly look desperate for England going into the first day of the third match on Friday, but Cook says he doing his best to keep calm, although he admits he has been disappointed by how the series has gone so far.

"I don't pace the corridor," the opener said. "It has been a challenging few weeks and it's kind of do or die in this series."

"(But) I feel all right. When things don't go well as a captain, it's a tough, tough place to be. But I am still looking forward to the fight and still wanting to get out there - which I think is a good sign."

"(I am still) desperate to try to use all my experience and knowledge as a young leader to try to turn this around."

Broad Expects England Response

England bowler, Stuart Broad, is adamant his side's defeat in their opening Ashes Test to Australia was just a "blip" and feels they will come back stronger for the second encounter in Adelaide.

The tourists were the favourites with fans placing a bet on cricket to get off to a winning start in Brisbane and looked like they would live up to expectations when they got the Baggy Greens out for a modest first-innings total of 295, considering the flat surface at the Gabba.

However, a dismal England batting performance meant the Aussies secured victory within four days to win by 381 runs.

Since that defeat in Brisbane, another blow has hit the tourists with experienced batsman, Jonathan Trott, returning home with a stress related illness.

Despite the torrid start to their Ashes tour Down Under, Broad, who was England's standout performer in Brisbane, is confident his side will be able to bounce back and level the series in Adelaide next week.

He said: "We've got a huge task on our hands. We had a blip last week, but I can't see this group of players allowing that to happen throughout the tour.

"There will be some guys who know they didn't perform to the level expected of them in international cricket and will have to do better in Adelaide."

With Yorkshire star, Tim Bresnan, pushing for a return to the Test side, after coming through a lower back injury, competition for places should be high going into the Adelaide encounter.

Australia cricket betting punters know that their team will once again be looking to expose any weakness in the England batting line-up as they go in search of what would be a commanding 2-0 lead.

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England are all Grown Up - Pietersen

On the eve of the first Ashes test, England batsman, Kevin Pietersen, has spoken about his expulsion from the team in 2012 and has praised the atmosphere and spirit within the current squad.

Pietersen was dropped during England's home series against South Africa last summer after it emerged that he had been in contact with some opposition players and may have given hints as to how to target his captain, Andrew Strauss.

After a protracted period of 'reintegration', Pietersen returned to the England side under Alistair Cook's captaincy and he has praised the atmosphere within the dressing room since.

"We've all grown up and actually got a lot tighter. If you look at the environment now, it's absolutely fantastic and I'm not lying; I'm being dead straight," the 33 year old said.

Pietersen was outstanding during England's 3-0 series victory over Australia earlier in the year, finishing the series as England's second top run scorer notching three half centuries and one ton in the process, and, in so doing, firmly re-establishing himself as an English fans' favourite.

For the Surrey batsman, the change in atmosphere is all down to improved communication throughout the side.

"That communication wasn't there last year or it wasn't as much as it is now," said the man who will win his 100th cap in the first test at Brisbane. "The guys now get on and talk. If there's an issue we get it out into the open and if there's good stuff we talk about that too," he added.

Having won the last three series, those who enjoy a bet on cricket will find it hard to back against England retaining the Ashes, with Pietersen playing a key role. Australia Cricket betting fans will be heartened by the fact that their side haven't lost at the Gabba since 1988, however, and Michael Clarke will be desperate to ensure that run continues.

Aussies Win in India

Australia have beaten India in the opening One Day International in Pune by 72 runs. The visitors opened the batting and scored 304-8 off their 50 overs. George Bailey top scored with 85 runs, while Aaron Finch also helped them past 300 with his 72 early in their innings.

Once Australia went past 300, it was always going to be a big ask for India because they had never successfully chased a total above that figure against the nation from Down Under in 10 other previous attempts.

In their reply this time, the hosts could only reach 232 when they were bowled out by the Australia attack. Virat Kohli was the most successful of the Indian runscorers with 61 from 85 deliveries but he was not supported very well as Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina were the only other two players to score past 20.

James Falkner proved a boon for people who bet on cricket, as the most dangerous of the Australia bowlers. He picked up three key wickets and got them off to a great start with the dismissal of Shikhar Dhawan early in the innings.

Kohli and Raina did manage to put on a71-run third wicket partnership, but that was halted by Faulkner when his delivery was caught by Xavier Doherty. Kohli eventually followed his teammate back to the pavilion when Shane Watson's delivery was deemed lbw to leave them 166-5.

Australia cricket betting fans also have Watson to thank for the wicket of Sharma, while Clint McKay helped see off the tail with a brace of his own.

The two sides will meet once again for the Second One Day International on Wednesday, October 16. This time the 50-overs game will take place in Jaipur at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium.

Australia Set For Series Decider

Australia have the chance to add some consolation to their tour of England by winning the five one-day international series this afternoon in Southampton.

The scoreline is currently at 1-1 going into the final game after two washouts have restricted much of the action in the 50-overs format.

The visitors got the series off to a flyer by surprising the cricket betting to win at Old Trafford by 88 runs. Captain Michael Clarke was influential in the win with a century that helped his side reach 315, which was enough for an 88 runs success.

After a non-result in Birmingham at Edgbaston, England levelled in Cardiff, where they won by three wickets, with just three bowls remaining.

Australia will be forced to make at least one change for the decider to the side that were beaten last time out. Shaun Marsh picked up a hamstring injury and is likely to be replaced by Phillip Hughes at the top of the order.

Clarke, who missed his side's Champions Trophy campaign with a back problem, may also have to sit out the decider if he fails a fitness test ahead of the contest.

Darren Lehman may also be considering using Fawad Ahmed who would come in for Nathan Coulter-Nile; otherwise, the bowling attack will not change with hat-trick man, Clint McKay, retaining his place alongside Mitchell Johnson, James Faulkner, and Shane Watson.

Australia have already lost their Ashes, where they failed to win a Test match over the five games, much to the chagrin of fans who bet on cricket. Before they embark on a trip to India, where they will play seven one-day internationals and a T20 fixture, they will be desperate to get a win under their belt.

They will also have the opportunity to put their Ashes disappointment behind them when they take on England once again, this time down under in November when they play hosts to the next Ashes series.

Australia Out For Ashes Revenge

Australia start the First ODI against England on Friday as the 8/11 favourites in the cricket betting for the game.

After a disappointing Ashes campaign earlier this summer where they were beaten 3-0, the visitors will be hoping to seal the five-match limited-overs series.

Australia had the chance to fine tune their form ahead of the opening ODI earlier this week when they were out in the field against Scotland. They travelled up to Edinburgh to take on the CB40 side where they reached a total of 362-3 in their 50 overs. Aaron Finch and Shaun Marsh got them off to a flyer with a stand of 146.

Finch was the first of the openers to go which allowed Shane Watson some time in the middle where he hit 37 off 24 balls.

It didn't take Australia long to bowl out the Scotland side. The hosts could only reach 162 before losing their 10 wickets in their response. Mitchell Johnson was the pick of the bowlers with four wickets, while James Faulkner also produced two dismissals.

England also warmed up for the game in Leeds by beating Ireland in Dublin. Eion Morgan's team sealed the win by six wickets. It was the captain's partnership with Ravi Bopara which was crucial as early wickets put the Three Lions in a bit of trouble. They were down to 48-4 before Bopara came to the crease, but three figure scores from both players carried England over the line for the win.

There are a range of cricket betting odds available ahead of the series including top Australia series batsman where Watson is the 11/4 to get the most overs runs over the five matches.

Rogers Records Maiden Test Ton

Chris Rogers' century in Australia's opening innings of the Fourth Test at Durham was his first for his country at the age of 35.

The left-hand batsman scored 110 runs as he helped his side to 270, ensuring a 32 run advantage, after England were bowled out for 238.

Going into the Ashes series, Rodgers had played for Australia on just one occasion; that was against India in 2008 where he failed to shine, scoring four and 15 respectively in his two innings.

However, after an impressive record in recent years in England, the visitors turned to the Sydney born man once again, hoping his experience of the wickets in the country could help them surprise the Ashes betting and win back the famous urn.

Rogers' knock in the first innings came at exactly the right time for Australia, after they were in some trouble in the early stages of their reply at 49-3. Stuart Broad had dismissed David Warner, Usman Khawaja, and captain, Michael Clarke, cheaply in a fine spell of bowling.

It was not until the opener formed a successful partnership with Shane Watson that the visitors started to get on top. The pair, who opened the batting together at Trent Bridge and Lords, scored 129 before Watson fell for off the bowling of Broad.

Rogers did go on to complete his century but received a couple of slices of luck along the way, as some Australia cricket betting pundits have noted. He was initially given out by the on-field umpire at 20 but successfully got that decision overturned following a review. Then, on 49, he was dropped at slip to give him a third chance to continue his innings.

The Middlesex batsman had to wait patiently for his maiden Test century and was on 96 for 20 deliveries before sweeping Graeme Swann to the boundary for four runs and his three figure score.

Lyon Confident of Ashes Impact

Off-spinner, Nathan Lyon, insists that he has not let his omission from the first two Ashes Test matches get him down and is confident of making an impact if he is recalled for Old Trafford.

The 25-year-old was surprisingly left out of the Australia side for the opener at Trent Bridge, with rookie left-arm spinner, Ashton Agar, taking his place. The 19-year-old scored 98 on his Test debut batting at number 11 but has so far failed to have an impact with ball in hand.

Agar's inability to unsettle England's batsmen could mean a recall for Lyon, who took nine wickets in his last Test appearance in India in March, including career-best figures of seven for 94. Overall, he has taken 76 wickets at an average of 33.18 in his 22 Tests.

Lyon will have the chance to press his claims in a three-day tour match against Sussex, which starts on Friday. He will need to demonstrate to fans who know how to how to bet on cricket that he is a better spinner than Agar, who will also feature at Hove.

Lyon admitted being left out of the Trent Bridge Test was tough to take but said he picked himself straight back up and tried to help the team. He has felt in good form in the nets.

"I'm just trying to put the ball into the same spot and trying to get some good drop and bounce. I'm really happy with the way they're coming out, actually. Best I've bowled in a long time," said Lyon.

"I believe my best ball can get the best batters in the world out. The thing is that I have to keep doing that over and over and over."

Lyon would need to make an immediate impression in Manchester from August 1, with Australia, currently outsiders in the cricket betting odds, needing to win all three remaining Tests to reclaim the Ashes.

Aussies make Mockery of Foolish Whitewash Claims

So, the first Ashes Test of the summer went the way many expected it would - to England - but the manner of the victory was far less emphatic than most had predicted. And now Australia will be aiming to prove their performance at Trent Bridge was no fluke.

So many Ashes betting experts had written off the Aussies before a ball had been bowled, with Sir Ian Botham even going as far as to say it would be a 10-0 Ashes whitewash to England in the back-to-back series' over the next 12 months.

Yes, Australia would be swatted away in further proof that things have now come full circle in this traditional, historical rivalry that it is now as one-sided in England's favour as it was pre-2005 when Australia were the total, dominant force - or so the thinking went.

Botham may still be proved correct, of course, after England stumbled over the line to see off the Baggy Greens by 14 runs in Nottingham, but the way Australia made them fight all the way suggested these hugely-competitive contests will be a lot closer than predicted.

The Trent Bridge Test had it all and was a brilliant showcase for five-day cricket. The momentum swung both ways regularly throughout; Australia were unexpectedly in sight of a famous victory as they almost chased down 311 to win in their nail-biting second innings on the final day.

It was a fine effort from a team supposedly in turmoil, accused of having no real stars to trouble apparently one of the best sides in the world on their own patch.

Everywhere you looked, there were good performances and points were made. Peter Siddle's 5-50 in the first innings helped restrict England on what looked like a great batting pitch, while Phil Hughes and James Pattinson also weighed in with some key wickets and runs.

However, this Test may well be remembered for the outstanding debut of 19-year-old Ashton Agar. Batting at 11, he soon made a mockery of claims Darren Lehmann had taken a big risk with his surprising inclusion of the teenager on the first morning.

His superb 98 proved he is a classy performer and his portfolio of shots indicated he has real raw talent and fans who bet on the Ashes may well talk about him as a star of the game in the years to come. Certainly, if he can build on this performance, the all-rounder, who also took two key wickets remember, gives the tourists hope that one day they can assume their place back among cricket's elite.

It was a Test that should give Lehmann and his squad real inspiration and belief that they can overturn the 1-0 deficit and even go on to win this series if they maintain their form on a consistent basis over the next few months. No easy task, as combating Jimmy Anderson, Ian Bell, and co will be difficult, for sure, but suddenly no-one is saying the Aussies are here to make up the numbers.

Australian duo make their case for selection

Usman Khawaja and Phillip Hughes could have sealed their places in the Australia side for the first Ashes Test at Trent Bridge after impressing in the victory against Somerset.

However, Ed Cowan did his chances of partnering Shane Watson at the top of the order nogood at all. He made three in the first innings and 46 in the second, with medium pacer Gemaal Hussain dismissing him on both occasions.

Chris Rogers now has the opportunity to leapfrog Cowan in the selectors’ thoughts and clinch his place in the Baggy Greens side and his chance to upset the cricket betting odds by playing well in the next match against Worcestershire.

Khawaja made 73 as Australia reached their victory target with the loss of just four wickets, while Hughes scored 50. However, there remain concerns that left-hander Hughes averages just 17 in Ashes cricket

There are also some question-marks about the bowling attack Australia will use on 10th July in Nottingham, the first day of what is expected to be seven weeks of enticing and memorable Ashes cricket (you can check out the latest Ashes odds with bet365).

James Pattinson and Mitchell Starc look set to be two of the chief bowlers in the first Test after taking 13 wickets between them against Somerset.

However, the form of Peter Siddle is a major concern and he struggled to make any impression against the county side, eventually finishing with poor match figures of 1-117.

Pattinson is expected to sit out the second warm-up game at Worcester, while Ryan Harris and Jackson Bird look set to start.

''I think I've had enough cricket over the past month to be ready for the first Test,'' said an upbeat Pattinson. ''If the first Test was in three days I'd be ready to go. ''We've had a lot of doubters over the last month but there's a good feeling that we've got a point to prove.''

Reasons for Australia to be cheerful

To many cricket betting fans in England the destination of the Ashes is a foregone conclusion but are Australia’s opponents really that good?

Are England a side on the slide?

Since becoming the world’s number one side by beating India 4-0 two years ago, England’s Test record has been patchy.

They lost their top ranking when they slumped to a 3-0 series defeat to Pakistan and followed that up with a 2-0 defeat to South Africa.

OK, a 2-1 victory in India at the end of 2012 was impressive but England followed that up with a stodgy 0-0 draw in New Zealand and, although they then beat the Black Caps 2-0 a couple of months later, Alastair Cook’s side again failed to impress.

Is Alastair Cook a good captain?

Question-marks remain about Cook’s leadership skills. Since replacing Andrew Strauss, he has been criticised for his lack of adaptability and been told he is too nice to be captain.

When the going gets tough, is he prepared to make the tough decisions and be his own man?

He was castigated in the Ashes betting news for not enforcing the follow-on in the recent second Test against New Zealand and, although England went on to win that match, the decision was perceived by many to be that of a weak captain.

Is Kevin Pietersen really over his injury?

So often the thorn in Australia’s side, the mercurial batsman announced his return to first-class cricket recently following a knee injury by scoring 177 for Surrey against Yorkshire.

But Pietersen has played no international cricket since March after the recent T20 international against New Zealand was abandoned.

If England are to claim their third successive Ashes victory much will depend on the form of Pietersen, but will his knee hold up to seven weeks of intense Ashes action?

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