England pacers James Anderson and Mark Wood struck towards the end of rain-affected Day 1 of the 4th Test between England and Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Wednesday.
The Day 1 of the fourth Test was hampered mostly by rain with the first two sessions combinedly yielding just 21 overs. Even though the third session was a bit drier, England leaked runs consistently, and by the time, they adjusted the length for better returns, the rain returned once again and umpires had to call the Stumps. England would hope to make early inroads tomorrow but the odds are firmly stacked against them with Steve Smith still batting in the middle.
If it is Sydney, nothing more needs to be written about the impact of Steve Smith. In 9 matches at the SCG, the local lad has amassed 829 runs at an average of 75.36. This is some incredible dominance but to get a clearer picture, let’s dive deeper. The Australian vice-captain has a Test batting average of 60.84, and in 2021 alone, which he considers was a bad year for him, he averaged 53.25. His performance against England has always been top-notch, which is understandable from the fact that he scored at an average of 62.40 against the arch-rivals to go with his home average of 65.34. The Australian No.4 batter has 14 centuries and 15 fifties in 42 Test matches at home, indicating everything we need to know about Smith the batter. Another interesting bit of statistics put every naysayer to rest as Smith scores 87.54 runs per dismissal in the first match innings and at 63.14 in the first team innings. With Australia batting first here, Smith can take inspiration from his innings last year against India when he scored a fighting century in the first innings and an 80 in the second dig to bail the hosts out of the woods.
Usman Khawaja scored 171 runs at the Sydney Cricket Ground against England in January 2018, which is his second-highest score in Test matches. However, a lot of water has flown since then. Khawaja had been dropped from the squad and is returning almost after three years. Would you bank on him then? I will. I am telling you why. Khawaja has a Test average of 40.71 but in Australia, his average shoots up to 53.08. It is the third-highest he averages in any country in his Test career, with UAE and New Zealand taking the first two spots. When Australia win the Test, Khawaja’s average stands at a solid 57.76, and in drawn matches, he averages 48.20. Those are real indicators of the fact that Khawaja invariably has a big role to play in wins and Australia would want to see some big runs from the Pakistan-born batter. Another interesting aspect of his batting is that he is in control a staggering 84.12% of the time in Australia and that number yields an average of 59 on par among the top-six batters. Really impressive right? Then why are we waiting for? C’mon bet big on Parimatch and take home a huge deal of cash.
Australia are currently batting on 126/3 in 46.5 Overs and they have lost Marnus Labuschagne as well. Sure enough, we have backed Steve Smith and Usman Khawaja to score those runs but there is a caveat to the whole narrative. Once Smith and Khawaja are gone, there is not a single bankable batter waiting out there. The absence of Travis Head, who was replaced by Usman Khawaja, makes for a big impact. Australia’s last five batters have scored at an average of 17.9 in the last two years, with a control percentage of 59.23%. In such a scenario, the figure of 347 is way off the mark if Smith doesn’t go ballistic. In that situation too, Smith would have to deliver way beyond his god-smacking form to help Australia reach the market. Hence, we would go under-par and short the market to make enough money. Parimatch is providing some interesting odds to make a lot of money and that should be enough for you to prepare for a lavish weekend.
Smith to score 50 or more runs @ 2.00 (Parimatch)
Khawaja to score 50 or more runs @ 2.33 (Parimatch)
Australia to score below 346.5 runs @ 1.87 (Parimatch)
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