England’s Autumn International series gets going for real when Australia visit Twickenham. The Aussies are a shadow of their former selves and Robbie Deans is under all sorts of pressure after seeing his side get smashed in Paris last Saturday.
France ran out 33-6 winners in Paris as the Wallabies failed to win a second straight game. Anyone looking at the time of the first try for the tourists may have spotted that the defeat in France was the second straight international that Australia have failed to cross the white line.
Chris Ashton will likely return to the starting XV having served his ban and the winger has had his own scoring troubles. It’s been seven internationals since he last scored, but he bagged a brace when Australia were last in London – including a memorable breakaway try from his own half.
The Gillette Four Nations turns up at Wembley on Saturday, bonfire night, for a spectacular double header. Wales take on NZ, while England face up to the Aussies.
Without really impressing England trounced Wales 42-4 at the Leigh Sports Village last week. Wigan Warriors full-back Sam Tomkins was the star of the show with four of England's eight tries.
Steve McNamara's England are unlikely to get close to that total try tally again this weekend, as the many England try sellers will tell you, but the team showed enough promise to suggest they can give the Kangaroos a run for their money. A poor weather forecast means rugby league traders at the spread betting firms are expecting plenty of sellers of Australia's supremacy.
With 50,000 underneath the iconic arch, the 'Wembley factor' shouldn't be ignored. Great Britain recorded sensational wins over Australia here, or at least in the shadow of the old Twin Towers, in 1990 and 1994 (19-12 and 8-4 respectively) while England won 20-16 in 1995.
Australia are historically the most successful cricketing side at the World Cup, having won the competition no less than four times. However, after Ricky Ponting’s side were comfortably beaten by five wickets in the quarterfinals by India there will be a new name on the 2011 trophy.
Over the years the finals have produced some fantastic cricket, but they have tended not to go down to the wire. The tightest final in recent tournaments was in 1987 between the old enemies England and Australia. The Aussies ended up winning by just seven runs, after England fell short of chasing a target of 253.
The largest winning margin since 1987 was eight years ago as the Aussies beat India by 125 runs. Spread bettors already looking ahead to the final this Saturday will be interested to find that the average winning margin is 59.5 points for the market.
The highest total posted by a side at a World Cup final in the past 24 years is 259 runs in 2003. That year Australia opened the batting against India and posted the huge score. The lowest total recorded in that period was 132 by Pakistan, which Australia easily chased to win by eight wickets.
The average runs total during World Cup cricket finals since 1987 is 234.5 runs.
England’s cricketers have a new world record to go with their Ashes victory after they secured an eighth consecutive Twenty20 international win.
Australia, still licking their wounds after a pitiful attempt to reclaim the urn (and dignity), will hardly be delighted that this landmark was set against them. They will be going all out to stop the Three Lions extending their run to nine-in-a-row when the teams reconvene on Friday morning UK time at Melbourne.
In fairness, Paul Collingwood’s men claimed their victory by the finest of possible margins on Wednesday at Adelaide, and Sporting Index’s supremacy market for the final match of the two-game series reflects that.
The supremacy market doesn't split the teams (-4 to 4 with Sporting Index) but more are likely to buy, with the World Twenty20 champions high on confidence and on top of their game.
And, for the record, here’s England’s Twenty20 winning streak in full:
May 6, 2010 - Pakistan - 6 wickets
May 8, 2010 - South Africa - 39 runs
May 10, 2010 - New Zealand - 3 wickets
May 13, 2010 Sri Lanka - 7 wickets
May 16, 2010 - Australia - 7 wickets
Sep 5, 2010 - Pakistan - 5 wickets
Sep 7, 2010 - Pakistan - 6 wickets
Jan 12, 2011 - Australia - 1 wicket
After finishing off the last mince pie with a glass of port there can be no better way to end Christmas Day than sitting back in front of the Ashes.
The Fourth Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground is sure to be a belter with the series finely balanced at 1-1 and given that there has only been one draw there in the past 13 years a result is on the cards. Having checked the forecast for Melbourne, the weather is also unlikely to play a part in holding up proceedings.
Since the heavy defeat in Perth, Andy Flower will have been racking his brains to find a solution to the problem that is Michael Hussey. Considering his place was under huge threat during the build up to the Brisbane Test, his turnaround has been remarkable. He has scored at least a half century in each of his five innings, and a total of 517. His 2010/11 Ashes average currently stands at 103.4 runs, but England fans will be pleased to find that the batsman hasn’t fared too well at the MCG in the past.
In Hussey’s five matches at the infamous sporting arena he has only managed one century, which interestingly came in his first innings there, against South Africa in 2005. Since that opening knock, his highest total is 82 runs, scored on Boxing Day in 2009. Spread bettors thinking of buying Hussey’s runs for the next Test might think twice knowing he averages just 31.66 at the ground and that the last time he faced the Three Lions here he was dismissed for six.