The fifth and final Ashes Test gets underway from The Oval on Thursday night as Australia looks to cap off a marvellous tour of England with final bragging rights.
The urn is safely in the Aussies’ hands for another year, and as the market suggests, Justin Langer’s side looks extremely tough to beat.
Steve Smith’s miracle first innings saved Australia at Old Trafford, but can we expect the same again from the world’s top batsman?
With plenty of value on offer, be sure to read our complete Ashes Fifth Test Preview below.
Smith played hero for Australia in Manchester scoring a memorable double ton to put the match out of reach. The world’s top batsman wasn’t without his sidekicks though as Marnus Labuschagne and Travis Paine both chipped in with the bat.
Australia’s bowling looked a little suspect at times in Manchester, particularly Nathan Lyon, who finished 2/140. Fortunately, Pat Cummins stepped up on the final two days to steal four wickets, while Josh Hazlewood’s six wickets didn’t go unnoticed.
It looks as though Cummins will be rested for the final Test after a long four months in England.
Justin Langer now has to weigh up his options with Peter Siddle and James Pattinson in the folds, but considering Siddle has plenty of experience at Kennington, the veteran paceman might be the better option.
England has plenty to reflect on after failing to reclaim the urn, but their overall performance at Old Trafford wasn’t terrible.
Rory Burns and Joe Root both managed to salvage a handy total in the second innings, while Stuart Broad was once again the most productive bowler.
The Oval wicket is reportedly pretty green, which should play into the hands of Broad once again. That said, Australia’s savage pace attack should also find wickets easy to come by.
Langer wants to finish this series off 3-1, which means you can expect plenty of hunger from the Australian side. With Smith in the form of his life and the inclusion of one or two well-rested bowlers, it’s worth sticking with the favourites.
Tip: Back Australia to Win @ $2.00
Australia Top 1st Innings Runscorer
If you’ve spent most of the last month watching this series, you may have noticed Steve Smith practising his batting technique during almost every break in play.
Smith looks unstoppable right now, and although there’s nothing sexy about backing the favourite, it’s worth playing it safe with some decent value on offer.
In two career Test matches at The Oval Smith has scored a century on both occasions. He also performed exceptionally well in Kennington during the World Cup making 69 against India and 73 against Sri Lanka.
Tip: Back Steve Smith @ $2.25
England Top 1st Innings Runscorer
The Fourth Test was a disaster for Ben Stokes as he finished with just 27 runs next to his name. England’s top all-rounder holds the key to victory for the hosts, and with plenty of experience at The Oval, he’s worth backing to put up a decent total in the first innings.
Stokes has averaged 68 runs throughout at Kennington largely thanks to the century he put up against South Africa back in 2017. And like Smith, Stokes also played well at The Oval during the World Cup scoring 89 runs against the Proteas.
Tip: Back Ben Stokes @ $4.50
Australia Top 1st Innings Wicket Taker
This tip depends entirely on Pat Cummins’ status, but should Australia choose to rest their top fast bowler, don’t be surprised if Peter Siddle takes a big scalp at The Oval.
As we touched on earlier, Siddle has plenty of experience bowling in Kennington having taken 10 wickets across three Test matches. With plenty of rest and a speedy wicket to play with, his current price looks good value.
Tip: Back Peter Siddle @ $4.50
England Top 1st Innings Wicket Taker
Stuart Broad has been enormous for England over the last two Tests taking nine total wickets. Not surprisingly, the 12-year veteran also has plenty of Test wickets to his name at The Oval as he hopes to save his best for the final match against Australia.
Broad wasn’t a part of England’s World Cup team, which means the last time he bowled in Kennington was late last year. Broad took a pair of wickets against India, adding to his impressive 30 wicket total at the ground.
Tip: Back Stuart Broad @ $3.00