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Rupert Wyman 15th Dec 2010 - 15:46

The Ashes - Third Test Betting Preview

England go into the Perth Test Match in the early hours of Thursday morning knowing that a win will retain the Ashes.

Here at William Hill we think that England are just too good for this Australian side at the moment and that's why we're happy to give you the best price on Australia to win at the WACA.  The home side are currently 15/8 to level the series in Perth. It's 5/2 for a draw and 11/8 for England to go 2-0 up.

There is certainly a case to be made for backing Australia. England's record at the WACA is terrible, they've won just once in eleven attempts and that win came during the Kerry Packer World Series days when the Australian team was severely depleted.

They have lost the last five test matches here including on the last tour were they fell to a 206-run defeat. Even when England last won the Ashes on Australian soil back in 1987 they only managed a draw in Perth so history is certainly with the home side.

The pitch at the WACA is the quickest in Australia and that has led to the recall of Mitchell Johnson. This is his home ground so he will know the conditions and could prove to be a more difficult proposition for the England batsman than he was in Brisbane.  He is 16/1 to be the man of the match and 3/1 to be the top wicket taker in the first innings.

England will be without Stuart Broad, who is ruled out of the series with injury, so will be forced into a change. Personally, I would bring in both Bresnan and Tremlett at the expensive of Collingwood and go with a five-man attack. Bresnan can bat and the top order are all in form so the the extra batsman is unnecessary.

However, with England one up they are likely to go for the more conservative option and it seems a straight race between Bresnan (4/1 to be top first innings wicket taker) and Tremlett (10/3) for Broad's place.  Andrew Strauss is playing his cards close to his chest and will announce his team at the toss but it is likely Tremlett will get the nod.

Due to the quickness of the pitch and the possibility of a green top on the first morning there is talk that Ricky Ponting will bowl first if he wins the toss. It would be first time he has opted to field since Edgbaston in 2005, a decision he later regretted as England rattled up 400 runs on the first day.

Jimmy Anderson will enjoy the quick pitch and possible swing and William Hill are offering you the best price around on him to be the top wicket taker in the innings, he's currently 11/4. Anderson travelled back to the UK between Test Matches but with the boost of his new born daughter I expect him to get over the jetlag quickly and bowl well.

In the batting department, England have few problems with all of the top order registering big scores and looking confident. Kevin Pietersen was the main man in Adelaide with a double-century and we go a top price that he is top England batsman in the first innings once more at a standout price of 4/1.  He is 25/1 to record another double-century.

Australia will be making up to five changes for this match and that can't help morale midway through a series. In the batting Phillip Hughes (9/2 to top score) will come in for Katich, whilst Steven Smith (12/1) will come in for Marcus North. That will mean a new opening partnership is formed of Watson and Hughes and it's Even money they will outscore their England counterparts.

Steven Smith can bowl some spin and that could mean Australia play four quick bowlers including the return of Ben Hilfenhaus (10/3 to be top wicket-taker).

Overall I think this will be a closer game than the Adelaide Test with England needing to adapt to the Perth pitch which is unlike any other they will have batted on so far in this tour.  However, with so many changes in the Australian team I think England (11/8) will win once more and seal the Ashes.

If Tremlett plays his extra pace and bounce will suit the pitch so a small bet on him to take the man of the match award at 20/1 is worthwhile, if they opt for Bresnan I would go Steven Finn at the same price. Don't miss out on the MatchWinner offers on both KP and Jimmy to be the top men in the first innings.

The game starts at 2:30am on Thursday and is live on Sky Sports 1

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