Gabba cauldron favours hosts


England have not won there since 1986 and Australia have not lost a Test there since 1988, so the first Ashes Test in Brisbane looks like going the way of the home side.

The Baggy Greens offer little value at 20/29 to win the series opener but remember that England salvaged an amazing draw seven years ago and used that as a springboard to an eventual 3-1 series triumph.

The draw this time around is 7/2 but some intervention from the weather might be needed for that outcome, with both sides fielding crumbly batting line-ups.

The hosts will no doubt look to skipper Steve Smith and opener David Warner to lead the way with the bat, with the pair both 37/20 to be top Australia batsman.

For England, captain Joe Root (also 37/20 to be top team batsman) will be fancied by many but left-handers Mark Stoneman and Dawid Malan have been the most impressive performers in the three warm-up outings.

Stoneman, in particular, has looked right at home on the faster, bouncier pitches in Australia and at 9/2 seems a good value option to be top team batsman.

The home pace attack is widely expected to hold sway and Pat Cummins appears to offer the best prospects of a return at 4/1 to be top team bowler.

Off-spinner Nathan Lyon could take centre stage if the match drags on, so 9/2 for the slow bowler may also tempt a small wager.

For the Three Lions, the vastly experienced pair of James Anderson and Stuart Broad are expected to lead the way but Chris Woakes has been the man in form on the tour to date, so 7/2 for him to be top team bowler may be a better option.

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