Sport : Cricket

England 8/13 for first Test

11th July 2013, 07:29pm

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Alastair Cook: 11/8 to top score for England with Sky Bet

Alastair Cook: 11/8 to top score for England with Sky Bet

England ended a turbulent second day of the first Ashes Test as they began it - as 8/13 favourites with Sky Bet.

Australia returned to the crease on Thursday morning at 75 for four but were quickly in trouble, with a flurry of early wickets reducing them to 118 for nine.

Unheralded debutant Ashton Agar walked to the crease when England had gone long odds-on, only for the Australian number 11 to become the first Test debutant batting at the bottom of the order to pass 50 on his way to a remarkable 98.

That gave Australia the framework from which to attack England's opening batsmen, and it didn't take Mitchell Starc long to dismiss both Joe Root and Jonathan Trott to put his side in command.

However, a patient partnership from Alastair Cook and Kevin Pietersen gave England a lead of 65 come the close of play and they've been reinstalled as favourites.

Sky Bet's Damon Blezard said: "Prices have fluctuated throughout the day along with the fortunes of both sides.

"When Australia were nine down at noon England were as short as 1/7 but by lunch they had drifted out to 4/6.

"When tea came England were two down and were the outsiders in the match for the first time at 5/4 as Australia went odds-on.

"But the balance then tipped back in England's favour and if they do get a lead of close to 300 then it will be a struggle for the Aussies in the fourth innings with the pitch starting to spin and the odd ball keeping low."

The firm have released their latest range of price boosts and make Cook an 11/8 chance to top-score for England in their second innings.

It's 16/1 that Friday's first ball is dispatched for four runs, while you can have 8/1 that both Cook and Pietersen go on to score centuries.

Sky Bet are also betting on when the first Test will end and it's 11/2 that there's a winner on Friday.

After that, sessions have been divided up with Saturday afternoon and Saturday evening sharing 7/2 favouritism ahead of Saturday morning at 9/2.

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